Horses To Follow » Mount Athos

Mount Athos

Mount Athos was once again dealt a cruel hand with regards the draw in the Old Newton Cup at Haydock on Saturday, and, as in the Chester Cup on his previous run, Jamie Spencer had no choice but to drop right in from the outside stall. He travelled like a good horse into the race, creeping up through midfield at the top of the home straight, but he had to switch right out into the centre around Classic Vintage just inside the final two furlongs. He picked up really well late on, finishing best of all, as we have become accustomed to with him, to get up for fourth.

This was another big run from Mount Athos in yet another major handicap. Now with David Wachman, he has had dreadful luck with the draw on his last two runs, he was drawn widest of all in the Chester Cup on his previous run too, which meant he could never get into that contest, and he did remarkably well there to finish fourth. He could do no better than fill the same position here, but again that represents a really good effort given that the winner received the perfect tow into the race from pace-setting Bowdler’s Magic, who kept on for third place himself. Despite the big field, they went steady up front, the time was the slowest of three races to be run over the distance on the day, some way slower than the three-year-old 0-95 handicap that started the card, and Mount Athos was the only horse to have raced towards the rear to get close.

The son of Montjeu has been an eye-catcher several times now and there is still a big race in him. It was interesting that Jamie Spencer mentioned the Goodwood Cup afterwards. He is versatile with regards trip, but he does stay well, he won the Melrose handicap last season over a mile and six furlongs and was very strong at the end of the two-mile-two-furlong Chester Cup, although that was another steadily run race. A Goodwood Cup should suit Mount Athos, a two-mile contest with a relatively small number of runners. He looks like an improved horse this season at four for his new trainer, and things should fall his way sooner rather than later. He is certainly good enough to win one of these big handicaps, he has not yet been able to show just how good he is, and he would be a very interesting runner in the Goodwood Cup if he does turn up for that.

2nd July 2011