Horses To Follow » Libranno


It may be that we should take Libranno’s win in the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday at face value. Elzaam may have been disappointing, and Neebras may have run a fair bit below the form that saw him chase Strong Suit home on his seasonal debut, or run out an impressive winner of a Goodwood maiden on his next start, but there is also a chance that Libranno beat the pair of them on merit. There wasn’t that much between Neebras and Elzaam on a line through Strong Suit, and the fact that Neebras finished in front of him does not necessarily automatically mean that Elzaam didn’t run his race. It may just mean that Neebras is the better horse, and that Libranno is better than the pair of them.

Ryan Moore was happy to allow Libranno bowl along in the early stages. He quickly got the better of Approve in the early skirmish for the lead – although Eddie Ahearn on Approve may not have wanted to lead – and settled into a nice rhythm in front on the far rail. It wasn’t necessarily an advantage to race on the far rail, but Moore seemed to be happy where he was, he made no effort to move to the centre of the course, where the ground seemed to be better, if only slightly, he quickly had Approve in trouble, fought off the short-lived challenge of Ebraam, and then battled on really well, sticking his neck out willingly up the hill, to repel the final challenge of Neebras.

This was just Libranno’s second ever run. The form looks really solid, and the time of the race was good, the second fastest of the day – impressive for a juvenile race – and 1.3secs faster than the time that Casual Glimpse clocked in what looked like a good juvenile conditions race run over the same course and distance later in the day. On his debut at the end of May, Libranno seemed to surprise his trainer Richard Hannon by winning a Newmarket maiden at odds of 25/1 under Pat Cosgrave, with his better-fancied stable companion, King Of Jazz, who had finished second on his racecourse debut, back in third. He obviously did enough between then and now to convince Hannon to allow him take his chance in this Group 2 contest, often a hot race. He is obviously hugely progressive now, he races with a really likeable willing attitude, and he could be better than seems to be generally appreciated. He could be a top class juvenile.

8th July 2010