Horses To Follow » Age Of Reason

Age Of Reason

Age Of Reason emerged with a lot of credit in running third to his stable companion Kite Wood in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury on Saturday. It appeared that Kite Wood’s rider Frankie Dettori and Age Of Reason’s rider Ted Durcan may not have spoken in great depth before the race, as Dettori charted a path down the middle of the back straight on Kite Wood, in front, as Durcan looked over a couple of times from his position close to the inside rail. It was a little perplexing. You only go wide at Newbury down the back straight when the ground is soft. It was officially good to firm at Newbury on Saturday, so good to firm that they put 4mm of water on. Perhaps they over-watered down the back straight, and Dettori copped it (fair play to him because he was late arriving at the track), because it was a very deliberate ploy to steer a wide path, and it worked, as Kite Wood ran out an impressive winner, so impressive that he was cut to 7/2 for the St Leger as a result. In truth, the other jockeys gave Dettori every chance. I thought that All The Aces would be the one to challenge him for the lead at least from the middle part of the race, but he was scratched in the morning because of the fast ground and, with no other obvious handy racer in the line up, it was always possible that Kite Wood would have an easy time of it up front, which he duly did, just as he did in the Bahrain Trophy on his previous run. Age Of Reason travelled well into the home straight. As they passed the three-furlong pole, he and the leader were the only ones still on the bridle. Age Of Reason had about three lengths to make up on Kite Wood at that point but he did pick up a little, without producing instant acceleration, when Durcan asked him to, despite the fact that the slow early pace wouldn’t have been ideal. He was still only sixth entering the final furlong, but he stayed on well all the way to the line to pass Dansant and Mourilyan and take third place, albeit four lengths behind the winner.

This was a useful performance from Age Of Reason in a messy race off an unsuitably slow early pace, and it confirmed that his last run, when he was fifth of the five runners behind All The Aces in the Fred Archer in June, when teh Godolphin horses were struggling for form, was all wrong. A dual winner for Mark Johnston in the winter of 2007/08 and a dual winner for Godolphin in the UAE last spring, he was only beaten a length by the high class Quijano in a Group 1 contest in Italy in the middle of June on his last run before the Fred Archer. He is obviously a talented individual who is at his best when stamina is at a premium and when the ground is fast. He is in the Irish St Leger, and he would be an interesting contender in that if the ground were to come up fast. Most of the others on the Irish St Leger shortlist like to get their toe in.

15th August 2009