Past Winners » Poet’s Voice


The horse who is over-priced at present is Poet’s Voice. He has a lot to find on the book with the top three – he is officially rated 14lb inferior to Makfi, 12lb inferior to Canford Cliffs and 11lb inferior to Rip Van Winkle – but he is a hugely progressive individual who could just be up to this massive step up in class.

A high class juvenile – he won the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster St Leger meeting – he always looked the type who would do better at three, but it has taken him a little while to get going this season. He was well beaten in the French Guineas and again in a Group 3 race in France (when the soft ground was all against him), but he ran a huge race on his penultimate run to finish second to Sea Lord in a Group 3 race at Salisbury last month. He was the Godolphin second string that day, Frankie Dettori rode Secrecy instead, but he put in a huge effort, coming from the rear off a steady pace to just go down by a nose. The form of the race is solid, third-placed Secrecy was an easy winner on his next run, while Sea Lord had won his previous three races, and connections thought enough of him to supplement him to the Irish Champion Stakes on the back of that run. He wasn’t at all disgraced there in finishing fifth, less than a length behind Rip Van Winkle who finished second.

Poet’s Voice stepped up on that again to win the Group 2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood on his only subsequent start. That was only a four-horse race, and there is a good chance that Poet’s Voice’s effort in winning the race has been under-estimated. In Main Aim he had a worthy opponent, a horse who is high class on his day on easy ground, which he had at Goodwood. Also, the easy ground would have inconvenienced Poet’s Voice at least a little, yet he travelled well through it and showed a fine turn of foot to come clear.

He has to step up hugely again, but he is on a serious upward curve now, and there is no telling how good he can be. Also, the Celebration Mile is a good stepping stone to the QE2, with four of the last 10 winners taking the Goodwood race in en route.

It is significant that Godolphin decided to pay the £20,000 to put Poet’s Voice in the race on Monday, despite the fact that they already had Rio De La Plata to bat for them, a previous Group 1 winner who was only just beaten in the Prix du Moulin on his last run. The fast ground should be ideal for Poet’s Voice, and in Frankie Dettori he has a top class jockey who rides Ascot really well, an essential factor at Ascot these days.

Rip Van Winkle has to bounce back from a lung-bursting effort in the Irish Champion Stakes just three weeks ago, while Canford Cliffs is coming into this on the back of a break since the Sussex Stakes in July. Two of his three defeats have been on the back of breaks of six weeks and eight months respectively, and it may just be that he is a better horse when he is rolling into races than when he is attacking one after a break.

Makfi is more difficult to fault … but there is the niggle in the back of your mind that he disappointed on his only previous run at Ascot. There were excuses that day, but there is also a chance that the track with its short home straight doesn’t suit his galloping style. By far the best two runs of his life have been over a straight mile.

Poet’s Voice is over-priced for me at 16/1. Given that he has been supplemented, it looks like he is a definite intended runner, and there will be scratchings, you have to think that Aidan O’Brien won’t run both Rip Van Winkle and Cape Blanco, and a mile isn’t Cape Blanco’s trip anyway. Ladbrokes are going ¼ the odds the first three a place, and Poet’s Voice is worth backing each-way on those terms.