Horses To Follow » Auld Burns

Auld Burns

Auld Burns appeared to be on a stiff enough mark for his handicap debut in the Class 2 10-furlong handicap at Haydock on Saturday judged on his well beaten efforts in the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood and the Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot. Those contests have both subsequently proved to be much better races than they appeared at the time though, and Auld Burns proved his mark of 102 is workable as he ran a good race here. He showed pace to adopt a handy position in this 15-runner event, and while he looked in trouble when the pace quickened, he kept at it gutsily and stayed on to finish second behind the impressive winner Dhaamer in a good time. He had no chance with the first-time-visored winner, who seemed to respond well to the application of headgear, he has always been an individual with obvious ability and the visor seemed to unlock that ability, but Richard Hannon’s horse finished in front of a decent field.

The son of Pastoral Pursuits has always been highly regarded by the Hannon team, he was pitched straight into a Listed race after winning his maiden on his debut before he ran in three consecutive Sales races, two at two and another one on his debut at three. He finished a creditable sixth in the first two, both over seven furlongs, before winning the third of them, his seasonal reappearance, over 10 furlongs. He ran on so well to get up and win that day that it seemed certain that he would stay 12 furlongs, and connections thought he might develop into a horse good enough to contest the Derby. He again showed plenty of stamina to come from last in a strongly run Classic Trial at Sandown to finish third, before he disappointed when sent off joint favourite for the Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood. As mentioned though, that race has turned out to be a better contest than it first appeared with the winner Masked Marvel going on to win the Bahrain Trophy at the Newmarket July Festival and the second, Namibian, improving all the time, winning the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot and the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood. Auld Burns was never able to get into the race in the Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot either having been settled out the back, he probably needs a strong pace at which to run in his races. He doesn’t have any great acceleration, he is essentially a strong stayer at 10 furlongs and so he needs a fast pace to bring his stamina into play.

He ran much better than the Goodwood or Ascot races next time out when running in another big sales race, the one won by Dominant, and the main feature of that race, except the impressive performance of the winner, was the strong pace set by the tearaway Stentorian. Auld Burns was right in the ruck for second there in amongst some good horses, several of whom had already or have subsequently proven themselves to be up to Listed class at least. He readily saw off two inferior rivals on his next start in a conditions race at Leicester where the tactics were changed on him, he was allowed to bowl along in front to make use of his stamina and those tactics, or similar ones at least, were again employed at Haydock. The manner in which he stayed on to finish second was likeable, and it is significant that there was a near three-length gap between the third and fourth. Auld Burns was well-supported on course in the minutes before the race and, with his mark unchanged, he can go one better than this soon. He is one to follow over the coming weeks, there could well be a race for him at York next week where he should be assured of a fast pace.

6th August 2011