Horses To Follow » Fantasy Gladiator

Fantasy Gladiator

With the snows preventing almost all jump fixtures from going ahead over the last couple of weeks, it was worthwhile taking account of the performance that Fantasy Gladiator put in in winning on the all-weather at Kempton on Saturday. Robert Cowell’s horse looked really good in winning a 0-80 handicap over a mile off top weight, much better than a Class 4-horse.

He seems to thrive off a fast pace, as he had on his previous run, and there was a sense that they kind of played into his hands here, with Cobo Bay and Blakey’s Boy taking each other on in the early stages. Indeed both the first and second, Having A Ball, came from well of the pace – the second placed horse from even further back than the winner – and ultimately the two trailblazers filled the last two places. However Fantasy Gladiator certainly stayed this trip really well, probably improving for the step up, and that opens up more options for him.

The Ishiguru gelding travelled supremely well into the straight with Jimmy Quinn able to take a look around just before the two-furlong pole while all the others were under the pump from some way out. He simply cruised up the inside into the lead and only had to be given one crack behind the saddle in the last furlong to bound to a three-and-a-half-length win. The time of the race was only 0.63 seconds slower than standard, comparatively much faster than the other races on the card except for the race which also featured a suicidal early pace and in which the winner, who also came from a long way back, actually managed to dip some way under standard. Robert Cowell’s horse has now taken his record to three wins and two thirds from just five runs at Kempton, and is really finding his niche on the Polytrack.

Having A Ball, who finished second, is suited to coming off a fast pace over this trip but was in the end well out-pointed by the winner and it is the victor who has by far the more scope for further progression. Raised 7lb for this win, that still leaves him on a fair enough mark for some of the better all-weather races through the winter. Given his size and the way he saw this race out, it is not impossible that he will stay 10 furlongs, and the Winter Derby at Lingfield in March could be a target for him. Connections, though, may have Dubai on their agenda if he continues to progress at this rate.

4th December 2010