Horses To Follow » Rio De La Plata

Rio De La Plata

Rio De La Plata ran a cracker to get to within a half a length of Confront in the Group 3 Joel Stakes run over a mile at Newmarket on Friday. Settled towards the rear by Frankie Dettori in the early stages as Confront and Khateeb disputed the lead, he was free enough off the fairly sedate early pace, and didn’t fully drop the bit until they reached the three-furlong pole, when most of his rivals were being asked for their efforts. Switched to the far side, he picked up nicely to put it up to Confront. He got to within a half a length of the winner and, while it never really looked like he was going to get there, he did stick to his guns well up the hill to go down by just a half a length.

Rio De La Plata was a high class juvenile two years ago, winning the Group 2 Vintage Stakes and the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere and finishing second to New Approach in the Group 1 Irish National Stakes. He didn’t live up to that level of performance at all last year, coming up short in the French Guineas, the Epsom Derby and the Prix Jean Prat before being put away in July and brought back in a listed race at Haydock last month, when he finished last of the eight runners behind Confront again, despite being sent off as favourite. The ground was really soft that day, however, and he was allowed another chance, which he duly grabbed on Friday, putting up a much more encouraging performance. Given how he stayed on up the hill without really quickening, it may be that a step up in trip to nine or 10 furlongs will bring about further improvement. He was keen through the early stages of the race, but that may be down to freshness. He should settle better next time. If he does, he would be interesting if allowed take his chance in the Group 3 Darley Stakes over nine furlongs at Newmarket on 16th October. His juvenile form puts him well above Group 3 standard and, if he can progress even a little from last Friday’s run, he should be well up to winning a contest like that.

2nd October 2009