Horses To Follow » Activate


Activate won the Class 3 two-mile handicap at Haydock on Saturday more easily than the winning margin suggests. He travelled well in rear, cruised into contention in the straight, came there to take it up and just idled, getting home by half a length in the end. For all his task was made easier by the defection of Zuider Zee, he was being well backed in the morning before that one came out so there was obviously a lot of confidence behind him.

He may have benefited from being held up, given that the first two home were the last two through the first half of the race, but he was the best horse in the race, possibly by quite some way. He has a nice progressive profile, unbeaten in two races when stepped up to a mile and six towards the end of last season, and he found further improvement here on his first run over two miles. He is a half-brother to Prince Kirk, winner of the Group 1 Prix D’Ispahan at four, as well as to Luca Cumani’s fast filly Khor Sheed, but he is by Motivator who, judged on his first few crops, is very much a stamina influence. Michael Bell had trained him for the Chester Cup but he missed the cut for that race so the plan now is apparently the Northumberland Plate. As that race is an early-closing race, he will carry a penalty, but the handicapper has raised him 5lb for this win, so he will not be badly-in, and his penalty should ensure that he will get into the Newcastle race. It is probable that his new mark of 96 under-estimates his ability by a fair way, given his progressive profile now over stayers’ trips. He has an ideal profile for the Northumberland Plate, although the draw can be crucial there, even though Overturn proved that it was possible to win from an outside draw last year. Incidentally, this performance came at a time when the Bell yard was just going through a bit of a quiet spell, and it is probable that there is quite a bit more to come from Activate.

26th May 2011