Horses To Follow » Delegator


Delegator was a very interesting runner in the six-furlong Duke of York Stakes on the first day of the Dante meeting on Wednesday. Winner of the Craven in 2009 and second to Sea The Stars in the Guineas, as well as finishing second in the St James’s Palace Stakes, this was actually his first ever run over six furlongs – he had done all his racing over seven furlongs and a mile before last Wednesday. Always travelling well in rear, he was switched right to the near side rail and came with a strong run to win a shade cosily from the dual Group 1 winner Regal Parade.

Dettori wanted to have him towards the far side of the group where the early pace was, but it was soon clear he was too far back to get a good position on that side so he switched back towards the near side. He angled for a run inside Regal Parade but that one closed that gap off, so Dettori had to pull back and come around him, making his challenge nearest the rail. Once he was in the clear he made smooth progress to get into contention and although he didn’t win as easily as it looked like he might a furlong out, Dettori always looked confident.

There were several things to note about Delegator’s performance here. Firstly, he has coped with the drop to six with ease, travelling like the best horse just about all the way through this race (although Dalghar did travel equally powerfully until a furlong and a half out). Secondly, for all that he has won first time out in the previous two seasons (although last year that wasn’t until September, he had a few small problems, including sore heels), he was only 85 per cent fit on Wednesday according to his trainer. This probably explains why he wasn’t ultimately more convincing given the way he travelled into the race, looking like he would go on and win comfortably, although this has something to do with the second rallying late on and running right to the line. Thirdly, the stands side was faster for the first two and a half days of the meeting before some rain came, it may not have been to Delegator’s advantage to race next to the stands rail, and it is usually best in these sprints to be among horses if you can get a run rather than close to either rail if the ground is consistent.

All in all this was a really impressive performance from Delegator. It could just be that he has been racing over the wrong trip for two years now. While he has a miler’s pedigree, he has always travelled supremely well through his races and struggled to see out a strongly run mile. His next run is set to be in the Golden Jubilee at Royal Ascot, before possibly going on to the July Cup, and it would be no surprise if he were to end up champion sprinter this season. He has been catapulted to the head of the Golden Jubilee market, but 8/1 about him at this stage is no ungenerous.

11th May 2011