Horses To Follow » Record Breaker

Record Breaker

Record Breaker put up a fine performance to win the opener at Ascot on Sunday, a really hot Class 2 0-105 handicap run over a mile and a half. Steadied out the back in the early stages by Richard Hills, who actually rode the first three winners at the Berkshire track on the day, he moved wide into the home straight, and showed a really smart turn of foot from the two-furlong pole to take it up out wide inside the final furlong and to win impressively by three and a half lengths. In so doing, he turned what looked like a tight handicap into a romp, and put up a career-best performance in the process.

When a seemingly exposed horse puts up a career-best, you natural instinct is always to look for a reason why. Initial reaction after Saturday’s race was to think that the race was run at a fast pace to suit anything that was ridden out the back, as Record Breaker was, a view that was backed up by the fact that the pace was set by habitual front-runner Australia Day, a horse who won a two-mile hurdle on his previous start. However, on closer examination, that may not have been the case. Although Australia Day is a confirmed front-runner, he is not a tearaway, and they gave him an easy enough time of it up front. Furthermore, he had never been beyond 10 furlongs before on the flat, his stamina wasn’t proven, yet Martin Dwyer was able to ride him as such a pace so that he was able to hold onto second spot. Also, the third horse, Unleashed, was ridden handily enough from the outset, so it is probable that the early pace wasn’t so frenetic so as to be detrimental to the chances of those who raced handily. The simple explanation may be that, 27 runs later, Record Breaker is in the form of his life, he loves Ascot, his is his distance, he loves fast ground, and this is how to ride him. Also, he seems to be an improved performer this season for the fitting of blinkers. His previous two runs, including his run in the Mallard Stakes when he was tanking turning for home, were over distances that stretched his stamina beyond its limit. His previous run was over a mile and a half on good ground at Ascot, but he was ridden handily, he travelled better than anything into the home straight, but then probably went for home too early, going over two lengths clear a furlong and a half out before being overhauled. His previous run was over two miles on soft ground in the Northumberland Plate, and on his run before that, he finished second in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot.

He has improved since the Royal meeting, but there is no doubt that he does like it at Ascot. He has recorded a Racing Post Rating of 100 or more just five times in his life, and four of them have been at Ascot. Even so, he is progressing now and will be of interest wherever he goes next, providing the ground is good or faster, they hold him up and providing they don’t try him over further than a mile and a half.

27th September 2009

© The Irish Field, 3rd October 2009