Horses To Follow » Valencha


Valencha was a big drifter in the market from an opening show of 5/1 to an SP of 10/1, for a six-furlong fillies’ maiden at Salisbury on Thursday on her racecourse debut. It was only a Class 5 maiden, but Pose set a fair standard. Slowly away from stall 14, one off the far rail, Valencha was squeezed up immediately as the two fillies on either side of her converged, and she had to be scrubbed up through the first 100 yards. Last of the 13 runners after a furlong, she was keen and green despite the fact that she was smothered in among horses on the far rail, with Steve Drowne continually asking her to accelerate and decelerate as the gaps appeared and then disappeared. Still no better than third last and about five lengths off the pace passing the three-furlong pole, the field began to think out then and she began to pick up nicely on the far side. She had her momentum checked slightly again, however, inside the final furlong as she had to be first switched outside Acquaviva, who rolled towards the rail, and then Pose, who followed her. Even with all of that, she picked up really impressively once in the clear and closed on Pose all the way to the line, just going down by the bob of a head.

Pose may not be as good as it looked like she would be when she won her race on the near side, finishing fifth overall in the Watership Down Stud Sales Race at Ascot last September, but she set a fair standard in this grade, and there is little doubt that Valencha was the better filly here, given how the race was run, the troubled passage that Valencha had to endure compared to the trouble-free run that Pose enjoyed down the outside. The Hughie Morrison filly was three lengths in front 100 yards past the line, ears pricked, with Steve Drowne having difficulty pulling her up. She could improve quite significantly on this, her seasonal debut, given how weak she was in the market, and she is a fair bit better than the bare result suggests. There is plenty of speed in her pedigree – she is a half-sister to good sprinter Sohraab – but she is also a half-sister to Pango, who won over seven furlongs and a mile, and she raced here like she would appreciate a step up to seven furlongs at least. She will be interesting wherever she goes next, she should pick up her maiden without any difficulty, and she could be up to a fair step up in grade.

20th May 2010