Horses To Follow » Capponi


Capponi continued his progression by landing a competitive one-mile handicap at York on Saturday. Fast away, the Mark Johnston-trained colt couldn’t lead habitual front-runner Billy Dane, but Greg Fairley seemed to be content to take a toe into the straight. The response wasn’t immediate when the rider asked Capponi to lengthen, he just took a couple of strides to find top gear, but when he did, he picked up impressively off what was a fast pace, and galloped on resolutely all the way to the line, putting distance between himself and his pursuers in a most likeable fashion.

This was a good competitive handicap, well worth its Class 2 billing, and the winner’s time was really good, 0.22secs/furlong faster than standard and the fastest comparative time of the day by some way. There didn’t appear to be any major advantage from racing handily, they went a fair gallop and Magaling came from near last to take second place. Also, given the manner in which the early leader Billy Dane faded right out of it, it may not have been at all advantageous to chase such a fast pace. Unraced as a juvenile, this was just Capponi’s fourth run as a three-year-old. He has now won three of his four races and finished second in the other, all over a mile but on various surfaces. His previous win was in a handicap at lowly Carlisle, but that was a good race for the track, and there was a lot to like about the manner in which he stayed on up the stands rail to get home by a neck from the Michael Stoute-trained four-year-old Ithinkbest.

That said, Saturday’s performance was another significant step forward. The handicapper has raised him 8lb for it, but his new mark of 100 may still under-estimate his ability and his potential. He is a three-parts brother to No Excuse Needed, winner of the Celebration Mile and the Queen Anne, so it is not surprising that he is making his name as a miler. He could prove to be significantly better than a handicapper.

10th July 2010

© The Irish Field, 17th July 2010