Horses To Follow » Royal Astronomer

Royal Astronomer

Royal Astronomer ran a lot better than his finishing position suggests when he finished fifth behind Sea Lord in the one-mile handicap at The Curragh on Sunday. Drawn poorly towards the outside in stall four, Donal Kinsella’s gelding was slowly away, he stumbled a little on exiting the stalls and was hampered a bit by Balivor when the two had a coming together. Stone last of the 20 runners after they had gone a furlong, he was keen enough for Padraig Beggy through the early stages. Unusually for a 20-runner Curragh handicap, the early pace wasn’t fast, which allowed Frankie Dettori tack over from stall 10 to take it up and dictate a pace to suit himself. Widest of all around the elbow, Royal Astronomer travelled nicely and moved up on the outside a half a mile out, and he was one of just a couple of horses still on the bridle three furlongs out, but the fact that he was racing so wide was a definite disadvantage, not only because it appeared that there was a definite advantage to be gained from racing against either rail all weekend at The Curragh, but also because all the pace was on the far side. They raced in diagonal formation from the far rail out to the centre of the course up the home straight, and Royal Astronomer was about six lengths off the leader Sea Lord with three furlongs to run. He did pick up well, he made relentless progress on the outside of runners and, while it never looked like he would catch the leader, he finished best of all to go down by just two lengths.

This was a fine run from the son of Soviet Star given how the race was run. There was no disgrace in getting beaten by two lengths by Sea Lord, a classy, progressive sort who started favourite for the Britannia at Royal Ascot off Sunday’s mark and who was afforded an easy lead and the rail, and it is probable that he would have finished a lot closer had he enjoyed a better run through the race. The winner of a 10-furlong handicap at Leopardstown on his previous start just 10 days previously off a mark of 82, he was racing off a 6lb higher mark here, and he proved that he could be competitive off it. The handicapper should leave him on his mark of 88 for now, and he could be able to win a decent handicap off that mark. Both of his wins have been at Leopardstown from just three visits to the Foxrock track. He goes on fast ground, and he is probably better over 10 furlongs than over a mile. He is obviously in good form, he seems to be improving as he is learning to settle through the early part of his races, and he will be interesting now on his next run, especially if that is on fast ground at Leopardstown, ideally over 10 furlongs.

27th June 2010

© The Irish Field, 3rd July 2010