Horses To Follow » Paco Boy

Paco Boy

I have to admit, I was dubious about Paco Boy in the July Cup last Friday, racing over six furlongs on fast ground (just about as dubious as I was about him staying a straight stiff mile in the Queen Anne, and largely because of that performance), but he performed with an awful lot of credit, much more than is suggested by his finishing position in fourth.

I’m not sure why he was held up out the back in the early stages. Maybe that is the way that he likes to race, maybe they feel that he is at his best when he is passing horses, but he was never too far off the front rank in the Queen Anne, and that was over a mile. Maybe his draw in stall one forced Jimmy Fortune’s hand. It wasn’t an option to make it, so they planned to miss the jump, drop him in behind and gradually manoeuvre his way over to the middle of the track to make his ground. It didn’t look like he couldn’t go with them early, it didn’t look like he lacked the early pace, as Jimmy Fortune always seemed to be intent on dropping in. Six lengths behind the leader before they had gone a furlong, he was still stone last passing the two furlong pole, tracking the favourite Scenic Blast (maybe that was the plan). From there, he fairly took off up the hill. Ninth passing the furlong pole, he finished fourth, just two and a half lengths behind the winner. Okay, so he was helped by the meanderings of the winner Fleeting Spirit, and the interference that she caused to a couple of rivals, most notably runner-up Main Aim and fifth-placed King’s Apostle, but he still made up at least two lengths on all of his rivals from the bottom of the hill to the winning line.

You can get carried away with fast-finishing losers, you can mark them up much more than they deserve. There is often a lack of ability at some stage of the race that caused them to have to finish fast to be in the shake up. However, this may not be the case with Paco Boy. It is probable that he would have had the pace that would have allowed Fortune to ride him closer to the speed and, if he had been, he might well have put it up to Fleeting Spirit. This was a massive performance over a distance that was probably too sharp and on ground that was probably too fast. He is a huge talent, and he will be a player in whatever race he contests next, Sussex Stakes or Sprint Cup, it shouldn’t matter.

10th July 2009