Horses To Follow » Fulgur


Dominant was all the rage for the London Gold Cup at Newbury on Saturday having looked desperately unlucky on his previous run, his seasonal debut, at Sandown behind Chain Lightning when constantly denied a clear run and getting particularly badly hampered two furlongs out. The form of that race looked really strong with the winner a progressive sort, albeit yet to run since, and the third and fourth both winning smoothly next time out. Domination was a deserved favourite, for all he was a very short one.

In the race however, he was trapped three horses wide with very little cover and consequently raced keenly through the first half of the contest. In a slowly-run race he had little to give when asked for his effort and was ultimately disappointing, fading to finish fifth of eight.

Steve Drowne controlled the race from the front aboard Al Kazeem and that one deserves credit for quickening up at the two pole and having enough in hand to hold on quite comfortably. Mentioned here after he won his maiden at Newbury last October, he did have the run of the race out in front, and the horse to take out of the race for me is Fulgur who finished well from the back to take third.

As has been mentioned, the race was run at a pedestrian gallop, with many in behind pulling for their heads. Fulgur did settle better than he had on his previous run, but was still slightly keen through the first part of the race. He did drop the bridle after three or four furlongs but was still last as they passed the three furlong marker, which isn’t where you want to be off a slow pace, and unable to get out when he first wanted to, hemmed in by Norse Blues. He faced a virtually impossible task from where he was as Al Kazeem quickened up well passing the two-furlong pole, but, when angled to the outside and getting out, Luca Cumani’s colt picked up impressively and ran on strongly with just a couple of cracks of the whip, closing with every stride through the last 100 yards or so. He was beaten a length and a quarter and a length and a half, but was right in amongst the front two a hundred yards or so after the line, and Fallon had a bit of a job pulling him up.

This was much more like it from Fulgur after he had disappointed on his return when fancied for the Listed Fielden Stakes at Newmarket behind subsequent Lingfield Derby Trial winner Dordogne. He had pulled hard in the seven-runner field there and, while he was slightly keen again here, that can be put down to the slow pace, and he picked up really well in the circumstances. Fallon put up 1lb overweight on him as well. He will be much better suited coming off a fast early pace and, being by High Chaparral out of a mare who was placed three times in Listed company over 12 furlongs, he should get further than the 10 furlongs of this contest. His knee action suggests he may be better suited to some more cut in the ground as well, and his impressive maiden win last backend came on soft ground. The handicapper raised him 4lb to a mark of 87, which is more than fair. He is one to note. He could be one for one of the big middle distance handicaps at Royal Ascot, as long as the ground doesn’t come up too fast.

14th May 2011