Horses To Follow » Cloudy Start

Cloudy Start

The totesport Mile at Goodwood on Friday was a fairly strangely-run race. Historically, it is probably the biggest ‘draw’ race on the calendar, with the last nine winners of the race drawn 16 or higher, and the first five home last year emerging from the five highest stalls. However, the high-drawn horses went too fast in the early stages of the race on Friday, probably in an effort to make the most of their high draws, with the result that they set it up for horses coming off the pace, most of whom were drawn low. There were a number of horses to take out of the race. Lovelace made late ground on the far side, coming from an impossible position from his low draw (4), Acrostic raced wide the whole way from his draw in stall six, Spectait was under pressure from a long way out before staying on to take second, and should be better over further now, while Webbow came from miles back and wide from stall 12 to finish best of all and just snatch third place. All of these are worth watching next time. However, most people will be watching them, so they may not be allowed go off at as big a price as you would hope. The one who impressed me most, the most ‘unobvious’ if you like, was Cloudy Start. He was drawn well and the ground dried out sufficiently for him before race time, so he had a lot in his favour, but he was one of the horses who chased the fast early pace, with the result that his chance was compromised. Of the group of seven that finished clear of the rest of the field, six of them came from off the pace. Cloudy Start was the only one who didn’t. Also, the other three horses who helped set or who chased the early pace, Jack Junior, Joseph Henry and Tartan Gigha, all finished well down the field. The Cecil horse, on the other hand, looked a likely winner when Tom Queally pulled him off the rail around Jack Junior with three furlongs to run. He led until well inside the two-furlong pole, but shortly after that Laa Rayb and the closers were bearing down on him and, although still second until inside the final furlong, he was swamped in the last 50 yards and actually finished no better than seventh.
This was still a fine performance from the son of Oasis Dream, a mere three-year-old, off his rating of 108 (he was actually the second highest-rated horse in the race after Lovelace). He looked good in winning a decent seven-furlong handicap at Epsom on Derby weekend, then improved again on that run when looking most impressive in beating Set The Trend over a mile on Kempton’s Polytrack in late June. There was no disgrace in getting beaten a half a length by the useful Spring Of Fame in a good conditions race run on good ground at Newmarket’s July meeting, and even at that it was a messy enough race, run at a muddling pace. He is still progressive, he should be even better if the ground gets even faster next month, and he could be under-rated next time after appearing to fade out of contention on Friday. He should be at least up to winning a listed race, possibly even a Group 3.

31st July 2009

© The Irish Field, 8th August 2009