Horses To Follow » Cat Junior

Cat Junior

Cat Junior looked unlucky in the Group 3 Supreme Stakes run over seven furlongs at Goodwood on Sunday. Settled nicely in third place behind a fast pace set by Abbondanza, he looked to be in the perfect position to deliver a challenge as the two leaders began to weaken. However, just as Darryll Holland was taking his colt towards the outside and asking him to improve, Express Gift arrived up on his outside and held him in behind the weakening leaders. In the pre-totting out days, he might have moved out anyway and just eased Express Gift out of his way, but he decided to hold his line, not risk incurring the stewards’ attention. They were just inside the three-furlong pole anyway, so there was plenty of time. However, as the two leaders fell back into his lap, Holland found himself being dragged backwards as Asset improved on the outside of Express Wish. Then, when he dropped back to go behind Asset, eventual winner Ordnance Row began staying on for pressure on the outside, so Cat Junior had to go back again to go outside that rival. By that stage, they were well inside the final furlong, and it was all too late, yet Cat Junior kept on well to just miss catching Asset for the runner-up spot.

I am sure that I am not the only one to spot this unlucky run from Cat Junior, and I am usually not into unlucky losers, as they are often over-bet next time. Also, Cat Junior hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations that Brian Meehan had for him as yet – he hasn’t won in nine starts since he won his maiden on his racecourse debut in August 2007. However, there is a chance that this seven-furlong trip is the key to him. The only other time he raced over seven furlongs was in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes at Newmarket last October, when he led a small group on the far side before just giving best to Stimulation inside the final furlong. While there may have been an advantage to racing on the far side that day, he had the likes of Laa Rayb, Balthaazar’s Gift and Major Cadeaux behind him that day, and Major Cadeaux raced on the far side as well. On his previous run before Sunday, in a six-furlong conditions race at Lingfield, he missed the kick, found it all happen a little quickly on the surface, before staying on late to take third place behind the classy Ancien Regime. That horse let the form down at Newmarket on Saturday, but that was the second time in a row that he disappointed at Newmarket’s July course, so you can probably put a line through it.

Cat Junior is entered in the Group 2 Park Stakes, run over seven furlongs at Doncaster on 12th September, and that is interesting. That is over seven furlongs, both of his runs in the autumn have been good, and he could easily be up to winning a Group 2 race over what appears to be his optimum distance.

30th August 2009