Horses To Follow » Dance And Dance

Dance And Dance

Dance And Dance was desperately unlucky yet again in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile in Canada on Sunday. He has now been genuinely unlucky on each of his last four starts.

Taken back from his wide draw by Jamie Spencer, he was last through the first couple of furlongs before starting to creep forward on the run to the end of the back straight and around the home turn. He was seemingly full of running at the top of the home straight, but he just needed things to open up a little for him in the centre. Unfortunately, they just didn’t. His compatriot Side Glance kept him in as that one was driven on his outside and, with runners coming further down the outside, Spencer could never switch out, indeed there was very little Spencer could do except sit and suffer. He switched inside and tried to look for room between Courageous Cat and Right One, the eventual close second and third, but that gap was not forthcoming and so Spencer had no choice but to move right down to the rail. By the time he had found any sort of room, time had run out and as they crossed the line the horse had barely come off the bridle.

Ed Vaughan’s gelding has now quickly progressed from top handicaps to Group level. While the Woodbine Mile can be a weakish Grade 1 contest, Courageous Cat brought solid American Grade 1 form into the race, and it is far from fanciful to suggest that Dance And Dance would have gone very close, and in fact probably would have won, with anything like a clear run. His performances this season have been characterised by his acceleration and tenacity, but he didn’t even have a chance here to show either of those traits. He travelled really well, probably too well, since the winner came from behind him and, as he was further back, he was able to take the gap on the outside. Had Dance And Dance not made such good progress he would have been able to move to the outside.

While you do make your own luck to an extent, he is a talented horse and there is a big prize in him yet. He seems to run his race in whatever race he runs, whether it be in handicap company or, as now, at the top level. To be so consistent in the top mile handicaps – he won or reached the frame in five big handicaps out of six this season – means you have to have a serious amount of ability and hopefully Dance And Dance can now go on and prove just how much ability he does have. There is a chance that this performance will have gone under the radar slightly given that it was in Canada. He could very well be up to winning a big race before the season is out.

17th September 2011