Horses To Follow » Mount Athos

Mount Athos

Mount Athos looked good when winning the Melrose Stakes at York on Friday. The John Hills-trained colt is all stamina, a son of Montjeu out of a Slip Anchor mare, and he was always travelling well here, if running a little more freely than ideal early on. He made good ground on the inside of runners as they came up the home straight, and he was the last horse to come off the bridle. He picked up really well to take it up, and the race looked all over, before he gave his rivals a chance by veering to his right. That gave Tactician a chance, but Mount Athos had enough in hand to pick up again and when he did he won going away.

Mount Athos probably would have won this by three or four lengths had he not veered to his right late on. He had never done anything like that in the past. It may have been that he hit the front too soon and he began to idle a bit on his own, but it didn’t matter in the end, he was by far the best horse in the race on the day. The Melrose is usually a good handicap, and this year’s renewal looked like a good one. The second horse, Tactician, had a better chance than pre-race odds of 20/1 suggested, he is a progressive sort who was mentioned here as one to follow after his previous run behind Bowdler’s Magic at Sandown, and the front two were clear in a good time, only marginally slower than standard.

There is more to come from Mount Athos, he is still fairly lightly-raced and even though the handicapper has rewarded him with an 11lb hike, he could still be much better than a mark of 95. He is half-brother to The Great Gatsby, who was third in an Epsom Derby, and the Aidan O’Brien-trained Roman Empress, who was placed in a number of Group races, including the Yorkshire Oaks. Stamina races look like his forte, and he is one to keep on side.

20th August 2010