Horses To Follow » Amour Propre

Amour Propre

Not hugely original, but Amour Propre was a good winner of the Group 3 Flying Five Stakes at The Curragh on Sunday. He looked set to rise to the top of the five furlong ranks after running away with the Palace House Stakes on his first run at three, but he didn’t quite go on from that as much as it looked like he might, and it may be that it is only now, at five, that he can start to fully fulfill his potential.

He has had his problems, he only managed three runs last season, and he looked rather out of sorts in all three of them. He did not run last year after Glorious Goodwood, but he has returned to the track this year looking much more like the horse we saw at two and on his first start at three. He ran really well just behind Masamah in the Listed City Walls Stakes at York on John Smith’s Cup day, finishing a nose in front of Hamish McGonagall who went on to finish second in the Group 1 Nunthorpe on his next start. Up to Group 2 level for the King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, Henry Candy’s horse again finished second to Masamah, although he was beaten further than he had been at York. He ran poorly in that race last year though, and it may just be that Goodwood doesn’t suit him that well while, as a speed track, it does play to the strengths of Masamah, a horse who only has one way of running, hard and fast from the gates. It was still a good run from Amour Propre, proving he can still mix it with some of the best five-furlong horses around.

He stepped up again on both of his two efforts so far this season when winning in convincing fashion on Sunday. He raced out towards the centre of the track, away from the favoured stands rail, where the runner-up Sole Power, a Group 1 and Group 2 winner, raced, and he ultimately won with plenty in hand, striding ahead late on to clock a good time, 0.19 seconds per furlong faster than standard, the only time below standard on the day. He was superior to the others on the day here by a fair way. Sole Power set a very high standard for this race, and while Eddie Lynam was probably priming him for the Sprint Cup at Haydock on Saturday, he should have been fit enough for this with the Nunthorpe two weeks previously having been his intended target until the ground went against him, and, although he was conceding 5lb, he did have the favoured stands side rail to run against here. The third home Roicead is improving fast, and fifth-placed Invincible Ash had beaten Hamish McGonagall herself when winning another Group 3 here at the end of June.

This run seemed to signal that Amour Propre is back, at least somewhere very close to his very best. Having had his problems, he is relatively lightly raced for a five-year-old, and he should be able to step up to Group 1 company now. Five furlongs is ideal for him, he has plenty of speed, and the Prix de l’Abbaye could be his race.

28th August 2011