Horses To Follow » Midas Touch

Midas Touch

There may have been a slight over-reaction to Rewilding’s defeat of Midas Touch in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York on Tuesday. There is no doubt that Rewilding is a talented individual and that he is a major contender for the St Leger, but his chance of landing the final Classic may not have improved by as much as the magnitude of the change in his odds for the race (5/1 to 5/4 in places) suggests. Visually impressive though the performance may have been, Rewilding enjoyed the run of the race. For starters, he was held up out the back off a really fast pace that Harris Tweed was encouraged to set. As well as that, he challenged up the home straight away from the slowest ground on the far rail. By contrast, Midas Touch did not have the run of the race, and bookmakers’ reaction in pushing Aidan O’Brien’s colt out to 7/1 for the St Leger may also be an over-reaction to what was, on the face of it, a slightly disappointing run. In reality, however, Midas Touch did remarkably well to finish second given how the race was run. He hunted up the fast pace, a pace that was so fast that it militated against the early pace-setters and set it up for the closers, and he clung to the far rail, the slowest part of the track all week, all the way up the home straight. On top of that, he was conceding a 3lb penalty to Rewilding and Joshua Tree. The last horse to carry a penalty to victory in the Great Voltigeur was Pentire in 1995. Even at that, Midas Touch kept on really well to retain second place, over two lengths ahead of his stable companion Joshua Tree in third.

The Great Voltigeur is a really good St Leger trial these days, with six of the last 10 winners of the Classic having prepped for it by finishing in the top three in Tuesday’s race, and indications are that this year’s renewal of the York race was a classy one. The form of the race is rock solid and the time was good, the only time to dip below standard on the day. There is no doubt that Rewilding and Joshua Tree are big St Leger players. The former had already advertised his Leger claims by finishing a staying-on third in the Derby, after which Frankie Dettori said he was a real Leger horse (which may also be contributing to his restricted odds), while the latter was having his first run since he won the Royal Lodge last September, and is certain to come on for the run. However, the value may lie with Midas Touch at 7/1. He has already proven his class by going down by just a half a length in the Irish Derby, he is bred for stamina and he races like he will improve for stepping up in trip again from a mile and a half. He can be marked up a fair bit on the bare form of his run on Tuesday, and he looks over-priced for the Leger now at 7/1.

17th August 2010

© The Irish Field 21st August 2010