Horses To Follow » Black Spirit

Black Spirit

Black Spirit ran a fair bit better than his finishing position in fourth place suggests in the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown on Saturday. Drawn widest of all in stall one, he accentuated the disadvantage by going to his left leaving the stalls, and he was keen enough in the early stages. Asked to improve in behind horses towards the outside by Adam Kirby three furlongs out, he moved to the outside at the two-furlong pole to deliver his challenge. It wasn’t ideal that he was forced to challenge so wide, but he still picked up nicely into a quickening pace, moving into fourth spot by the time they reached the furlong pole. His run flattened out in the last 200 yards, he just stayed on as opposed to picking up, his early exertions possibly taking their toll, but he was still closer at the finish than he was at any other stage of the race.

This was a fine performance in a race that wasn’t run to suit. Richard Hills was able to dictate a pace on the front-running Shakespearean to suit his mount, which was a contributory factor to his victory, and the fact that the runner-up Buzzword also raced handily gives further credence that the race was run to suit those who raced handily. This was just Black Spirit’s second ever run – he won a novice stakes at Ascot in July on his racecourse debut, for which he was expected to improve significantly – and he should come on appreciably for it. He shouldn’t be as free or as green on his next start, and it might also be worthwhile stepping him up to a mile now, given how well he stayed on here over seven furlongs despite taking plenty out of himself in the early stages. He is a half-brother to Sun Chariot winner Majestic Roi and to Heza Gone West, a useful performer in the US who got a mile as a juvenile, and his dam won over a mile and a half. He would be interesting if he took his chance in the Royal Lodge at the end of September. He has already proven that he can be effective at Ascot.

22nd August 2009