Horses To Follow » Son Of The Cat

Son Of The Cat

Common consensus after Son Of The Cat had won the Stewards’ Sprint Stakes, the Stewards’ Cup consolation race at Glorious Goodwood, was that he had been flattered by being drawn low and racing right over on the far side. He managed to get across to the far side rail when the field congregated over there two furlongs out and almost immediately kicked into a two-length lead, an advantage he was able to hold to the line. However, the evidence of his most recent start, in the six-furlong Listed Chris Blackwell Memorial Hopeful Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday, suggests that maybe he was not flattered by his Goodwood win at all, as he ran a cracker on Saturday to finish second behind all-the-way winner Swiss Dream. Actually, he was readily holding the others through the last half-furlong at Goodwood, and he may simply have been the best horse in the race on the day.

Son Of The Cat was not suited by the slow early pace that Nicky Mackay was allowed to set on Swiss Dream, he was a little keen from his widest draw, and even when Franny Norton tucked him in behind Cochabamba to get some cover, he was still a little slow to fully drop the bridle. He got outpaced when they quickened from the front at around half way, and he seemed to be treading water a furlong and a half out, dropping back to nearly last, but he stayed on really strongly inside the final furlong, charging past some decent horses in Mac’s Power and Royal Rock to just get up for second, with the highly talented if inconsistent Monsieur Chevalier back in fifth. The strength of his finish suggests that Son Of The Cat would have been much better suited to a sterner test, a stronger gallop.

The ground was not as soft as it seemed like it might have been at Newmarket on Saturday and, while most of Brian Gubby’s gelding’s form is on quickish ground, he has won on easy ground, and he probably would have benefitted from the emphasis that soft ground would have placed on stamina.

This was a good race for the grade. Admittedly several of them, including Son Of The Cat, were stepping out of handicaps and were unproven in Listed company but Mac’s Power has been consistent in the top sprint handicaps this season and Swiss Dream goes very well at Newmarket, this being her fourth win from just six starts on the two Newmarket courses. The ground may not quite have been soft enough for Royal Rock, but he is a good horse on easy ground and he had the perfect run through this race, settled just in behind the winner on the rail. Monsieur Chevalier has some top class form to his name, especially when second in the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on his penultimate start before this one, although this may have been a prep run for him for the Ayr Gold Cup.

Both Mac’s Power and Monsieur Chevalier would also have preferred a stronger pace, but so to would Son Of The Cat, and he stayed on much more strongly than either of them. The son of Tale Of The Cat seems to be in the form of his life, he has been raised 1lb to 100 for this run which is fair as the horses he beat into third and fourth are both rated 100, and Monsieur Chevalier is rated 115. Gubby’s horse will be interesting back in a handicap where a fast pace is usually assured, he is in the Ayr Gold Cup off 99 and that could be the race for him now. He may continue to be underrated hailing from a small yard.

27th August 2011