Horses To Follow » Braveheart Move

Braveheart Move

Put up here before as one to follow after he won a handicap at Chester in May, Braveheart Move was desperately disappointing at Glorious Goodwood, but he did make amends when he landed a Class 3 handicap at Pontefract on Sunday. He wasn’t impressive at all on Sunday, but there were mitigating circumstances. The early pace was really slow, he pulled quite hard for about a half a mile and he raced at least three horse-widths wide the whole way. There was a point about a furlong after the start when Seb Sanders had the opportunity to anchor Braveheart Move in behind Joe Jo Star and Eton Fable, and bag the box seat on the rail just behind the leader, but he didn’t avail of it. I’m not sure why not. The horse was pulling for his head at the time, the pace wasn’t fast, it would have meant that he would have got cover and that he would have gone the shortest route. Sanders is a rider, similar to Jimmy Fortune, who generally likes to keep things simple. You will rarely see him getting stuck in a pocket or arriving too late. He generally seems to like to minimise risks, play the percentages. As a result, he is certain to avoid the flak that, say, Spencer and Hughes get for running into traffic problems or getting there too late, but it doesn’t mean that he maximises every horse’s chance of winning. It’s a judgement call, there probably isn’t a right or a wrong way to do it, but on Sunday I would have much preferred to have seen avail of the cover and the rail that was available to him. Perhaps he was riding to instruction, perhaps he wanted to ensure that he had plenty of daylight, that the most important thing in the game plan was to ensure that he could kick on whenever he wanted, and to that end he wanted to be wide and away from traffic problems the whole way. Perhaps he thought that his horse had so much in hand that he could forsake the ground, that the only thing that could beat him was traffic problems. Whatever the reason, it wasn’t ideal that Braveheart Move was wide and free the whole way. He actually looked beaten two furlongs out as it didn’t appear that he was getting any closer to Eton Fable and as High Ambition challenged on his outside, but he battled on really gallantly up Pontefract’s steep incline to force his willing neck in front in between his two rivals. The further they went the better he was getting, and he was going away inside the last 25 yard. If the race had been over a furlong further, he would almost certainly have won by a couple of lengths.

Sir Mark Prescott has entered the Cape Cross colt in the Melrose Handicap at York on Friday and that is interesting. He will have to carry a penalty for this win, but it is probable that the mark of 86 off which he raced on Sunday still significantly under-estimates his ability. The extra two furlongs of the Melrose will be in his favour and, as long as they can get him settled in behind horses in the early stages of the race, he should be seen to better effect. He is progressive anyway, having run just five times in his life now, and he should improve for this. As long as he has recovered from Sunday’s exertions on time – and he did have a hard race, the jockey got five days for excessive use of the whip – he would be a big player in the Melrose.

16th August 2009