Horses To Follow » War Artist

War Artist

For the second time in as many starts, War Artist didn’t win a race that he looked more likely to win than lose when he got run out of it in the six-furlong conditions race at Doncaster on Saturday. Travelling really well in behind on the stands side under Shane Kelly, he made nice progress on the near side to take it up off Eisteddfod at the two-furlong pole before going at least a length, possibly a length and a half up. However, from there, he floundered, and Zidane caught him inside the final furlong, before he faded completely to finish fourth.

It was the second time in as many starts that James Eustace’s gelding traded at long odds-on in-running (trading at 1.2 on Betfair in-running in the win market and at the floor price of 1.01 in the place market). It was understandable that he should fade inside the closing stages of his last run at Newbury, given that the ground was soft and it was his first run for over a year. The ground was soft again at Doncaster, and he was ridden fairly aggressively, as he usually is. He now hasn’t won a race since he won a Grade 1 contest at Clairwood in South Africa in July 2007 and, although he has been keeping the best of company, it is time for him now. He may be better dropped back down to five furlongs, he will certainly be better on better ground, and I would like to see his challenge delayed now until well inside the final furlong. Some people will be putting a line through him now after this, which is good, as he may be under-rated next time. He is deserving of at least one more chance in my book on better ground and hopefully ridden more patiently. He will be on my shortlist for the Haydock Sprint Cup as long as the ground isn’t too soft.

1st August 2009