Horses To Follow » Fencing Master

Fencing Master

Fencing Master, the third string from the Ballydoyle team, put up a nice performance in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday. He broke well to race prominently, just tracking the leaders for Colm O’Donoghue, racing slightly keen. He was bang there going into the Dip, but just lacked the pace to quicken out of it with the leaders in the final stages hanging a little to his right when he came under pressure, eventually finishing a respectable seventh.

This year’s 2000 Guineas raised a lot of eyebrows when a 33/1 shot, a Sheikh Hamdan reject, landed the Classic for France. There will be many that may question the value of this form with St Nicholas Abbey failing to show the level of form that he showed in his last two races last year, and there was also lack of pace early in the early stages with several runners failing to settle. That said, the time for the race was actually very good, suggesting they quickened up extremely well through the latter stages of the race, placing more emphasis on speed than on stamina. This probably didn’t suit Fencing Master, who raced keenly and just wasn’t able to quicken with the true milers. This was only Fencing Master’s third time on the racecourse and it looked like he would improve for the run. He ran similarly greenly in the Dewhurst, when taking a while to get the hang of things, eventually only going down narrowly to his stable companion Beethoven. His breeding suggests he will be a better horse over further, he is a half-brother to the French Oaks runner-up Millionaia and his sire, Oratorio won the Eclipse and Irish Champion Stakes. Given the way the race was run, Fencing Master ran really well, he will improve with more racing and is one to keep on your side when seen over further later this year. He could prove to be good enough to emulate his sire and take his chance in the Eclipse.

1st May 2010