Horses To Follow » Blue Monday

Blue Monday

Blue Monday ran a really nice race to finish fourth on his seasonal debut in the Listed 10-furlong race at Newbury on Saturday, despite the race not being run to suit. The two likely pacemakers in the race were withdrawn, with the result that Crime Scene was allowed dictate a sedate pace through the early stages. So sedate, in fact, that the winning time for the race, a listed race, was almost two seconds slower than the winning time for the handicap run over the same course and distance a half an hour later.

Despite the slow pace, Blue Monday improved from the back at the two-furlong pole, and looked like he was going to be involved, but he just couldn’t match Crime Scene in the sprint for home. Even so, he kept on well to finish fourth, just a length and a half behind the winner.

Roger Charlton’s horse is almost certain to improve for this, his seasonal debut. In six seasons racing now, he has never won on his seasonal debut, and that includes a defeat at 4/9, albeit a narrow one, in a conditions race worth just over £7,000 to the winner at Ripon in 2006. He is a little bit of a forgotten horse now. The 2005 Cambridgeshire winner and third in both the Eclipse and the Juddmonte International in 2006, he spent a fruitless time in Australia in 2007, but he proved on his return last season, in particular in his game defeat of subsequent Group 1 winner Spanish Moon in the Arc Trial at Newbury in September, that he hadn’t lost any of his ability. Okay, so he is eight now, and he probably isn’t getting any better, but Saturday’s run proved that he certainly isn’t getting any worse. This was the highest Racing Post Rating that he ever recorded on his seasonal debut. The son of Darshaan is at his best now over a mile and a half when there is an ease in the ground and when there is an emphasis on stamina. He seems to like Newbury a lot, with its long galloping straight – he had recorded two wins and two seconds there in four visits before last Saturday – and he should be a leading player in the Arc Trial in September again. He could be under-rated wherever he goes next.

18th July 2009

© The Irish Field, 25th July 2009