Horses To Follow » Charm School

Charm School

Charm School put in a really nice performance to win a Class 3 handicap over a mile and three furlongs at Kempton last Friday night on his first run for three months, and is very interesting now. Not much went right for him during the race. He raced keenly through the early stages, he was trapped wide and he was further back than ideal. Even so, he travelled well into the home straight, and picked up nicely on the outside to catch and pass Safari Sunup, and keep fellow closer William Blake at bay. It wasn’t the best handicap ever run at Kempton, but it was a fair standard for a 0-95 handicap, both Safari Sunup and William Blake are solid performers at this level, and Charm School won well despite not having the run of the race. He expended so much energy through the early part of the race – which was fairly forgivable on his first run for three months – that it was probable that he wouldn’t have anything left when they quickened, so it was to his credit that he was able to win so cosily in the end.

Nicely progressive towards the end of last season, the John Gosden-trained gelding was quietly fancied for the Lincoln at the start of the season, but he ran a bit flat in that before staying on towards the end on ground that was probably too fast for him in a race that was won by his better-fancied stable companion Expresso Star. It is fair to say that he has been frustrating since. He missed the break next time at Newbury when he did have his ground before staying on, he seemed to rebel against first-time blinkers next time at Yarmouth, and he didn’t handle the track at all in a 10-furlong heritage handicap at Epsom on Derby weekend. That was actually an eye-catching run. He was held up off a slow pace, he again raced freely, he didn’t handle the camber or the bend and yet he still stayed on nicely under a tentative enough ride that was probably focussed more on keeping the horse balanced on the camber than on anything else. Last Friday’s run was his first run since.

The obvious race for son of Dubai Destination now is the Cambridgeshire. His trainer John Gosden has won the last two renewals of that, and he won it with subsequent Group 1 horse Halling in 1994, so it is obviously a race that features on the trainer’s radar. Charm School should get his easy ground, and a fast-run nine furlongs should be ideal. You always want a 10-furlong horse for the Cambridgeshire. The worry is about his participation. It is a little worrying that Gosden chose an 11-furlong race for his comeback, not a nine or a 10-furlong race. Also, the trainer is responsible for the current Cambridgeshire favourite Invisible Man. Even so, Charm School has enough in his favour, and his current odds of 25/1 are big enough to justify taking a chance on his participation.

4th September 2009

© The Irish Field, 12th September 2009