Horses To Follow » Darley Sun

Darley Sun

Darley Sun put in a hugely impressive performance to land the Class 2 two-mile handicap at Ascot last Friday. The signs were not encouraging for David Simcock’s colt through the early stages of the race, as he raced freely, which was far from ideal but fairly understandable on his first attempt at a distance in excess of a mile and six furlongs. Chris Catlin just couldn’t get him settled behind horses. He raced keenly around the bend past the stands, and moved up on the outside of the Mark Johnston horse and favourite, Alanbrooke, on the run down towards Swinley Bottom. All the while he appeared to be doing more than Catlin wanted. Put that with the fact that he was racing wide of the leader in second place, a position that is far from ideal, and it was hardly surprising that he drifted in-running.

However, things got better as the race progressed. Darley Sun dropped the bridle a little and, as they ran up the side of the course on the approach to the home turn, one by one the four horses in behind came off the bridle. Suddenly, at the top of the home straight, everything was under pressure and the race had effectively developed into a match between the two leaders. Even that situation didn’t last for very long, as it quickly became apparent that Darley Sun was going the stronger. The son of Tiger Hill took it up off Alanbrooke at the two-furlong pole, and surged clear to record an emphatic win. There was always a chance that Darley Sun would improve for stepping up in trip.

Twice a winner over a mile and six, he got beaten in a muddling four-runner affair on his last run before Friday at Salisbury when he got done for toe off a slow pace. He was seen to much better effect over two miles on Friday off the solid pace that was set by Alanbrooke. Furthermore, this was just the ninth run of his life, and he can progress again. Fast ground, fast pace, long distance and a stamina test are what suit him best, and he should be worth following whenever he has those conditions again. The handicapper rewarded him with an 11lb hike for this performance, which is hardly surprising given how he came clear, but he is progressive over long distances now, and he may well be able to handle that type of hike. They are talking about the Melrose Handicap for him now, or the Doncaster Cup. He would be interesting in either.

24th July 2009