Horses To Follow » Vagrant Emperor

Vagrant Emperor

On his first appearance in 632 days, Vagrant Emperor ran a cracker to finish second to Full Of Joy in a two-mile-and-five-furlong novices’ handicap hurdle at Newbury on Thursday. He travelled really well through the race, always towards the head of affairs under Sam Thomas. He was pushed along for a few strides after the last flight in the back straight, but he was soon back on the bridle and he was well positioned to challenge as they turned into the straight. Only Full Of Joy was travelling as well as him from here, and the pair were locked together from the third last, quickly pulling away from their field. They were upsides at the last, and still neck and neck on the run in, but the tough Jonjo O’Neill horse was just able to stick his head in front at the line, the pair of them pulling 16 lengths clear of the rest of the field.

Full Of Joy is a tough and talented JP McManus horse, and he was well backed here, as he was on his seasonal debut where he finished a good second at Market Rasen. He deserved a lot of credit for winning the race, but there was a lot to like about the way Vagrant Emperor was able to go with him from as early as the third last, the lack of a recent run just doing Emma Lavelle’s horse in the end, as Full Of Joy had race-fitness on side. The time of the race was impressive, the third fastest comparative time of the day, third only behind Finian’s Rainbow and Aiteen Thirtythree, and nine seconds faster than the mares’ novice hurdle won by Sparky May run over the same course and distance earlier on the day.

This was a big run from this seven-year-old son of Oscar. He hinted at a bit of ability two seasons ago when he was second to Bensalem in a novice hurdle at Leicester, and then when he was unlucky not to win at Warwick on his next start, but this was much better than anything he has ever done. He will be interesting next time as long as he has recovered from the exertions of this run.

25th November 2010