Horses To Follow » Black Spirit

Black Spirit

There was a lot to like about the performance that Black Spirit put up in landing a competitive one-mile heritage handicap at Sandown on Saturday. Clive Cox’s colt settled just in behind the leaders off what was a solid pace set by the stable’s other runner Dunn’o. Black Spirit travelled well enough into the straight, but came under strong pressure as they went past the three-furlong marker. It was proving hard for a lot of horses to get a blow in to the leaders, Dunn’o and Oratory were keeping on really well in front, but Black Spirit responded well for pressure and then really took off inside the final furlong to win a shade cosily in the end, with Acrostic staying on well for second.

This was probably a career-best from Black Spirit, they went a solid pace and the time for the race was 0.11secs/furlong faster than standard, dipping under 1min 40secs, which not many horses do over a mile at Sandown. He was a good juvenile last year, but he seemed to have lost his way since, disappointing on his debut at Newmarket, but this was a real return to form, he beat some good handicappers in Acrostic and Oratory with his stable’s better fancied horse Dunn’o finishing third. It may be that Black Spirit needs the fast pace that he got here to be at his best, or that he has a liking for Sandown – he was fourth in the Solario Stakes there last year – or that he needs every yard of a mile to be seen to best effect. Also, he had a breathing operation since he was last seen, that may have done the trick and he was also fitted with a tongue-tie again here, which was left off last time.

The son of Black Minnaloushe is worth following now, he is still unexposed and there could be a lot more to come. On this evidence a step up in trip to 10 furlongs should suit, a hypothesis that is backed up by his breeding, his sire was a 10-furlong horse and he is a half brother to Hiddnah, who was listed placed over 12 furlongs. He is also a half-brother to a Group 1 winner in Majestic Roi, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next, especially if he steps up in trip or if he races again at Sandown.

3rd July 2010