Horses To Follow » Nanton


Nanton ran another fine race to finish fourth in the Ebor at York on Wednesday. Held up in rear, as is Nanton’s wont, somewhat negating the apparent advantage of his low draw in stall four, he made nice headway on the far side at the top of the home straight, but ran out of racing room at the three-furlong pole. Switched to the near side, he picked up well from the two furlong pole, and was squeezed up again a furlong out before running on really well to just snatch fourth place from the pace-setting Warringah on the line.

Of course, there were a number of hard luck stories in this year’e Ebor, Changingoftheguard and The Betchworth Kid among them, and both of those are worth keeping an eye on next time, although the world will probably be watching as well, which doesn’t augur well from a betting perspective. Nanton is just as interesting, arguably more interesting, actually, and he will probably creep under the radar again. Jim Goldie’s gelding is continually under-rated. He was a 66/1 shot when he finished second in the Cambridgeshire last year, he was allowed go off at 12/1, despite being well backed, when he finished second in the Zetland Cup in May, he was a 16/1 shot when he finished second in a big heritage handicap at Haydock earlier this month, and he was a 40/1 shot here. More interestingly, however, this was his first try at a mile and six furlongs, and he stayed it really well. We are used to seeing him competing over 10 furlongs, that seemed to be his distance, and he actually ran in the seven-furlong Abu Dhabi International at Ascot in July, when he wasn’t disgraced. He has run 52 times now, and you wouldn’t have thought that he holds any secrets from the handicapper, but this run opens up a whole new vista. He earned a Racing Post Rating of 100 here, just 1lb below his highest ever rating, achieved jointly in the Cambridgeshire last year and in that heritage handicap at Haydock earlier this month, and that was despite being stopped in his run a couple of times. His running style determines that he will meet traffic problems more often than not, that is part of what you are buying into when you back Nanton, but he can still be marked up a fair bit on the bare form of this performance. The handicapper will raise him a couple of pounds for this, and he was 2lb well-in, but he may have more improvement in him now over this trip. He is in the John Smith’s, and the Cambridgeshire again, but I would like to see him tried again at this trip now. The Mallard Handicap at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting is the race for him now. He has won there before and the long home straight should suit his running style. He could be under-rated in that if he were to take his chance in it.

19th August 2009