Horses To Follow » Flag Officer

Flag Officer

Flag Officer is worth noting after his valiant effort to beat the very well-regarded Sea Moon in a Class 2 three-year-old handicap at York on Saturday. He travelled strongly behind the leaders through this extended 10-furlong trip, but was going so well that Neil Callan found himself in front probably sooner than he would have wanted, and he was forced to kick for home some way out. In the end he just got run out of it by Sea Moon, a three-parts brother to Brian Boru, who would have been suited by Flag Officer going on so far out as it really brought his stamina into play. Sea Moon got past Flag Officer inside the last furlong and went on to score by a length and three quarters, but the pair of them pulled a long way clear of the rest, with eight lengths back to the third home. Sea Moon could be a really good horse now, he is still in the Irish Derby and is towards the head of the betting for the St Leger, and time could reveal this to be a very good effort from Flag Officer in receipt of just 6lb.

Godolphin’s son of Dubai Destination was still green here on his fifth start, he drifted over to the stands side inside the last quarter of a mile having begun his challenge on the far side of the group as they came down the middle. He had clearly come on a good deal for his seasonal reappearance two weeks previously at Newmarket, where he appeared to need the run, and he should improve again for this run. While he will need to find further improvement to cope with a 6lb rise, the winner was put up 11lb and now has potential Classic aspirations.

Flag Officer is a half-brother to Counterclaim who was second in the Italian Oaks, and he can go on and carry on progressing through the season. While Godolphin have enjoyed two high-profile Group 1 successes so far this season, courtesy of Blue Bunting in the 1000 Guineas and Rewilding in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes on Wednesday, they both came from the Mahmood Al Zarooni arm of the operation and Saeed Bin Suroor has made a slow start to the season. He has had just six winners in Britain so far in 2011 from 60 runners, although his horses are now starting to run into form. As the stable starts to find top gear through the summer months, this one is very much one to look out for.

11th June 2011