Horses To Follow » Phoenix Flight

Phoenix Flight

Phoenix Flight but up an impressive performance under a fine ride from Richard Hughes to win a Class 3 two-mile handicap at Kempton on Wednesday evening. Settled last of the 12 runners in the early stages, it was not to his advantage that the early pace was slow. Still stone last when they straightened up for home, with just two and a half furlongs to run, Hughes didn’t panic, he plotted his way between horses towards the inside rail, and the gaps opened. His horse was travelling well enough to enable him take the gaps as they appeared, and he moved through to hit the front inside the final 150 yards, and just about withstand Keenes Day’s late lunge down the outside.

This was a fine performance from the winner, who appears to have improved now for hold-up tactics and the addition of Richard Hughes, who is now two for two on him. The slow early pace was all against him, he is a keen going sort who would have benefited from a stronger pace. Also, he had to make his ground from the rear of the field in the home straight into a quickening pace, yet he did so impressively, and his superiority over his rivals was almost certainly greater than the winning margin of a head. He had come from last to first to win a Newbury handicap on his previous run on the flat in May (he was just beaten in a maiden hurdle at Aintree in the interim), the first time that Hughes rode him, for which the handicapper had raised him 7lb to a mark of 81, the mark off which he raced on Wednesday. He is sure to come in for another hike now, but he only got home by a head, so the handicapper can’t be too harsh. He could remain well handicapped for a little while now, he will probably be difficult for the handicapper to assess, given his running style, and he should be even better off a stronger pace. He is one to keep on side for now.

30th June 2010

© The Irish Field, 3rd July 2010