Horses To Follow » Safari Sunup

Safari Sunup

The third horse to take out of the heritage handicap run at Ascot on Saturday is Safari Sunup. Drawn wide in stall four, Peter Winkworth’s gelding had the early pace to adopt and maintain a good position through the first couple of furlongs, but was still forced to race wide throughout. Five horses deep but still travelling well just a half a length behind eventual winner Opinion Poll rounding the home turn, he picked up nicely, if not quite as impressively as the winner. Racing wide on the outside under 5lb-claimer Ashley Morgan, he did want to move to his right a little every time his rider took his left hand off the rein, but he responded well to a left hand drive, closing on the runner-up Kings Destiny all the way to the line, and withstanding the late challenge of Pevensey on his outside.

This was a fine effort from the son of Catcher In The Rye, and one that far surpassed his SP of 40/1 off a career-high mark of 97. He hasn’t won this season, but he has put in some worthy efforts in defeat, notably when finishing third to Hillview Boy on soft ground at Doncaster in August, and when chasing home Charm School at Kempton in September. Indeed, he hasn’t been out of the first three in his last five starts, all of them in competitive handicaps. As such, he has been climbing up the ratings, but the handicapper has left him on a mark of 97 for this run, and that makes him interesting. He is potentially better than the bare form of the race, and he could be improving anyway, having run just 12 times in his life. There is no question that this was a career-best off a career-high mark on his first run over a mile and a half as a four-year-old. Interestingly, he handles Polytrack well and he is rated 4lb lower on that surface than he is on turf, so he will be interesting if he runs next over a mile and a half at one of the Polytrack tracks.

4th October, 2009