Horses To Follow » Keenes Day

Keenes Day

Keene’s Day was an eye-catcher for the second time in as many runs at Ascot when he finished fourth behind Aaim To Prosper in the Shergar Cup Stayers on Saturday. Ridden along for the first couple of strides, he quickly took up a nice position on the rail just behind the leaders under Freddie Johansson, who already had a winner in the bag on the day. The slow early pace wasn’t necessarily in his favour, but most of the others were inconvenienced by it as well, and at least he had a nice handy position on the rail in third place, so he was well positioned if the race did happen to turn into a sprint.

The pace did pick up a little as they left Swinley Bottom, but there was still little change in the order and the field was pretty well stacked up until they ran down the side of the track. Keene’s Day lost his position a little as Yes Mr President took it up and Richard Hughes and Overrule moved up the outside, with the result that he was no better than seventh when they began the turn for home. He travelled best of all down to the two-furlong pole, but he was on the rail and looking for racing room as the race developed in front of and outside him. It did open up for him a little on the rail as Always Bold drifted off it a bit, but even that gap closed. It was all too late then as Aaim To Prosper and Yes Mr President duelled up front. Johansson pulled Keene’s Day out around Always Bold, and he stayed on with purpose, finishing strongly to take fourth place.

On his penultimate run before Saturday, Mark Johnston’s gelding had travelled keen and wide in the Ascot Stakes, and just didn’t get home over that two-and-a-half-mile trip. His last run before Saturday was in the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle, when he just didn’t get home on the soft ground after looking a likely winner when he hit the front two out. He was much more at home over Saturday’s distance of two miles and on the better ground. It can be expensive to continue to make excuses for horses, but he did look good in winning on the Polytrack at Lingfield in April, he still has a progressive profile as a stayer and, on this evidence, he is well handicapped on a mark of 92. The handicapper can’t do too much to him for this performance, and he is worth at least one more chance off this type of mark over two miles, ideally at Ascot.

8th August 2009

(c) The Irish Field, 15th August 2009