Horses To Follow » Arctic


There was an awful lot to like about the performance that Arctic put in in landing the Listed Gracecon Stakes at The Curragh on Sunday. Bounced out of stall one by Pat Shanahan, the plan may or may not have been to make it, but Shanahan was happy enough to do so, and the race had developed into a match, as the betting had suggested it would, between Tracey Collins’s colt and the Eddie Lynam-trained Sole Power. Arctic had the advantage of the near side rail, which is usually a distinct advantage at The Curragh when the ground is soft, which it was on Sunday. However, there didn’t appear to be a pronounced bias in favour of the stands rail on the day, and such was the superiority that Arctic exerted over his rival from the two-furlong pole, it is difficult to believe that the result would have been any different whatever position the winner had occupied on the track. The son of Shamardal drew right away inside the final furlong to win, eased down, by five lengths, with Sole Power clear of the remainder.

This wasn’t a bad race for a listed contest. The runner-up was well fancied and well backed, and he had got to within a length and a half of Walk On Bye on his only previous start. Also, the time was really good, the second fastest comparative time of the day, which was impressive for a once-raced juvenile carrying 9st 1lb. This was a marked step up on Arctic’s impressive performance in landing his maiden at Bellewstown at the beginning of July, and there is no reason to think that he won’t improve again. It was good ground at Bellewstown, he showed on Sunday that he can handle cut in the ground as well, and there was an awful lot to like about his attitude. He is a half-brother to Shanty Star, who won the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot in 2003, so there is every reason to expect that he will get further than the minimum trip. He certainly didn’t look like he was stopping. All of the top juvenile races are open to him now, although he doesn’t have any lofty entries yet. It should pay to follow him wherever he goes next for now.

26th July, 2009

© Irish Field, 1st August 2009