Horses To Follow » Captain Dunne

Captain Dunne

Captain Dunne was an impressive winner of a conditions race over five furlongs at Beverley on Tuesday. Settled back just behind trail-blazers Percolator and Buachaill Dona from a good draw in stall eight of nine, Tim Easterby’s gelding travelled easily under David Allan down to the two-furlong pole. At that point, as Ishetoo came up on his outside, it looked as if he might get hemmed in between the closers and the rail as the early leaders faded. However, he had enough in reserve to just give Ishetoo a little nudge and engineer a little bit of racing room for himself. Once in the clear, Allan sat for a couple of strides, obviously reluctant to get there too early, but he didn’t want to disappoint the horse either, so he asked him to go on a furlong and a half out, and he immediately went past Buachaill Dona, and had put five lengths between himself and his rivals 200 yards later. Allan hardly had to ride him out at all through the final furlong, and he still had four and a half lengths in hand over the runner-up, the fast-finishing Pawan.

The fact that Pawan managed to get up for second place does cast a little bit of a shadow over the quality of the race. There is a chance that Ishetoo and Buachaill Dona didn’t run their races. However, Captain Dunne could not have been any more impressive than he was. Third in the Portland Handicap on his previous run, when he went for home plenty early enough and even at that beat his 11 rivals that raced on the far side, he seemed to appreciate being held up in behind the front rank and being ridden for a turn of foot rather than being asked to blaze along as fast as he can for as long as he can. He is also probably better over this five-furlong distance than over the six-furlong Portland trip. The handicapper will have his say now, but he was rated 5lb higher than he is now after he was beaten a short head in the Dash at Epsom on Derby day (he almost led all the way there) and he shouldn’t be put up by much more than that for this performance. There may be further improvement in him now, if they hold him up just behind the pace over five furlongs, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next.

22nd September 2009