Horses To Follow » Sans Frontieres

Sans Frontieres

Sans Frontieres put up another impressive performance when he landed the CGA Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury on Saturday. Settled on the inside just behind the early pace-setter Kite Wood in the early stages of the race by Johnny Murtagh, he was keen enough until they reached the home turn. It wasn’t that he was pulling Murtagh’s arms out, but he just raced enthusiastically, apparently keen to go just a little faster than his rider wanted, and it looked for a few strides early in the home straight as if he might be in trouble, when he conceded third place to Golden Sword, who appeared to be travelling a little easier. However, Murtagh remained unperturbed, and when he gave Sir Robert Ogden’s colt a squeeze, he picked up nicely. He and Laaheb moved on at the two-furlong pole, at which point they both appeared to be travelling equally well. However, Sans Frontieres saw this trip of one mile and five and a half furlongs out well. It was his first attempt at a distance in excess of a mile and a half, and he seemed to improve for the step up. He did give the Michael Jarvis horse a bit of a nudge a furlong and a half out, but he was travelling by far the stronger at that stage. Actually, the further they went the stronger he got, and he pulled clear of Laaheb to post an impressive victory.

You can pick holes in this performance of you really want to. Kite Wood disappointed badly, and there is a chance that Laaheb didn’t fully see out the trip. This was his first foray beyond a mile and a half as well, and he did travel well through the race. However, the manner in which Sans Frontieres won this race was impressive, he was conceding a 4lb Group 2 penalty, and he pulled away from Laaheb, who in turn was clear of Saptapadi, a progressive sort, a full-brother to Queen’s Vase winner Patkai who was only beaten a length and a half in the Group 2 Henry II Stakes at Sandown in May over two miles. Also, the time of the race was good, just 0.28secs/furlong slower than Racing Post standard – by far the fastest comparative time of the day and faster than Racing Post par – on ground that was officially described as good to soft, good in places, but which was given universally by the jockeys as much softer than that. Next up for Sans Frontieres apparently is the Irish Field St Leger, and that makes a lot of sense. By Galileo out of a Shirley Heights mare, it shouldn’t be a surprise that stamina is now his forte, and he could easily improve again for the stiffer test at The Curragh. He is highly progressive, he has raced just eight times in his life, and he has improved with every run this season, most notably on his last two runs when cheekpieces were fitted. He has proven now that he can handle easy ground as well as fast ground, and he should be a major player at The Curragh on 11th September.

14th August 2010

© The Irish Field 21st August 2010