Horses To Follow » Dominant


Dominant was noted by just about everybody after his unlucky-looking second to Chain Of Lightning on his seasonal debut in a Sandown handicap off a mark of 88, but he failed to build on that when a strong favourite for the London Gold Cup at Newbury next time, seeing far too much daylight and failing to settle off a slow pace before weakening into fifth of eight. He confirmed the distinct impression of his seasonal debut though in no uncertain terms in the Tattersalls Millions three-year-old Cup at Newmarket on Saturday, running out a comprehensive winner.

He broke alertly from stall one but Neil Callan was quick to restrain him and try to get some cover, aware of how keen he had been on his previous run. The race panned out perfectly for him from that point. With Stentorian going clear and setting a good pace out in front Dominant was able to settle well in fourth place. For all that he was in the perfect position through this race, his dominance was clear-cut. He travelled powerfully into the race, it became apparent two and a half furlongs out that he was going best of all, he took it up just inside the final quarter-mile, at which point all his rivals were hard at work, and he picked up nicely when asked to pull clear inside the final furlong. He ran all the way to the line to win by five lengths.

Dominant was rated 94 coming into this, the second horse Malthouse was rated 98, while the third and fourth home, Questioning and Chef, were rated 101 and 102 respectively, so this was a huge performance from Roger Varian’s colt who beat them all authoritatively. Admittedly the way the race was run suited him perfectly, and it looks likely that he is always going to prove best coming off a fast pace, but the time he clocked confirms the visual impression he created. The time was 1.22 seconds under standard, 0.12 seconds per furlong, on a day when all the other times were above standard and, excluding Librano’s time in the Group 3 Criterion Stakes, some way above standard at that. Dominant should be up to making his mark in Group 3 company next time, and he could prove to be even better than that. He is in the Great Voltigeur, but he travels so keenly and he has so much pace that a step up to a mile and a half may not play to his strengths. Ten furlongs is probably his optimum trip.

25th June 2011