Horses To Follow » Nationalism


Nationalism was another horse who wasn’t entirely at home on the contours of Epsom, and he should be capable of doing much better back on a more conventional track than he did in the Group 3 Diomed Stakes on Derby Day. He was very keen early on on his first run for over seven months. Initially positioned towards the inside of the field, he pulled his way to go a bit closer on the outside, and was still doing plenty as they came down around Tattenham Corner. He was asked for his effort as they got to the three-furlong pole. He didn’t pick up immediately, Mac Love quickened past him, but he stayed on best of all inside the final furlong, narrowly failing to get up for third from the three-time Group 1 winner Rio De La Plata, a length and three quarters behind the winner Fanunalter.

For all that John Gosden’s son of Pivotal hasn’t fulfilled expectations yet, this was only his seventh lifetime start. He was favourite for the Cambridgeshire last year after an impressive win in a Goodwood handicap off a mark of 95 three weeks previously but he didn’t run up to form under a 4lb penalty, even allowing for the fact that he was drawn on the wrong side in the big Newmarket handicap. He also disappointed when tried in Listed company on his next and final start at three with blinkers on, although he did actually lose his action in that contest.

He has been gelded since last season and should be able to build on this comeback effort. He is out of a Sadler’s Wells mare who won over 10 furlongs herself, and stayed even further, and Nationalism looks like he will improve for the step up 10 furlongs now, especially if this run has taken the freshness out of him and he settles better next time. Although his sire Pivotal was a sprinter, he is capable of getting horses who stay, so Nationalism, having already won over nine furlongs in that Goodwood handicap, looks ready for the step up in trip now. He is entered in the John Smith’s Cup in early July, and he would be of interest if he took his chance in that, especially if there was a little bit of cut in the ground.

4th June 2011