Horses To Follow » Gardening Leave

Gardening Leave

There is a good chance that Gardening Leave will not get the credit that he deserves for beating Wigmore Hall in the Listed Newmarket Stakes run over 10 furlongs at Newmarket on Saturday, simply because the early pace was so slow and the whole affair turned into a bit of a sprint from the two-furlong pole. However, there was a lot to like about the manner in which Andrew Balding’s colt picked up and quickened past the early leader, the useful Rashaad, and about the way in which he battled all the way to the line to withstand the late lunge of Wigmore Hall. Of course, the slow early pace did not suit Michael Bell’s gelding at all, he is at his best when he is able to travel off a fast pace, ease past horses and then pick up, he is deserving of another chance for sure, but it would be foolish to detract from the winner’s performance in beating him, in winning the race, with the pair of them coming clear of their rivals.

Gardening Leave looked like a really useful colt last season when he won his maiden over a mile on soft ground at Newbury in October. He got bogged down in the heavy ground in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud at the end of the season, but it was significant that Balding thought enough of him to send him over to France for a Group 1 race. He shaped with a fair deal of promise on his seasonal debut when he finished close up behind Myplacelater and Bullet Train at Newbury, when he probably needed the race and probably wasn’t suited by making the running. He was much happier here travelling in behind and passing horses, he picked up nicely into the Dip and he kept on well. Next up for him apparently is the Hampton Court at Royal Ascot, which he should be well up to.

1st May 2010