Horses To Follow » Memory Cloth

Memory Cloth

Memory Cloth has come good for his new trainer Brian Ellison of late and he took another step forward at Newmarket on Saturday, albeit in defeat to Tullius.

He was just a touch free early on in the middle of the pack in the hands of Barry McHugh on this step up in trip to nine furlongs, as, first Danadana, and then Circumvent, just edged across him slightly. He was still over-racing a little after three and a half furlongs but settled well from there, he was still travelling well inside the final three furlongs, he just had to wait for a gap as there was no room between Danadana and Graphic, and when he switched outside Graphic, that gap closed on him too as Tullius edged to his left. McHugh had to switch Memory Cloth right to the outside, by which time Tullius had kicked on and, although it still looked like Memory Cloth was going to get past as he drew level into the Dip, he just couldn’t, and Tullius pulled out more close home.

The winner looks like an improved performer now for Andrew Balding (this was his first run for his new yard), the pair of them came clear of the high-class Fury, with a good field of handicappers stretched out behind them despite them having gone an even pace through the race.

Memory Cloth is five now but this was only the ninth run of his life, and he could still be a fair bit better than his new mark of 95 (having been given a 5lb rise for this run). He is out of the Fillies’ Mile and 1000 Guineas winner Gossamer, which makes him a half-brother to the Racing Post Trophy winner Ibn Khaldun, and he looked promising when winning on his first start at three when trained by Andre Fabre.

He obviously had his problems after finishing behind Behkabad in a Group 3 race on his next start as he wasn’t seen for 16 months until appearing for Brian Ellison in a handicap at Ayr’s Western Meeting last year. He didn’t cut much ice at Ayr, or at Haydock a week later, and there was only limited promise in his seasonal reappearance this year when stepped up to 12 furlongs at Wolverhampton in March. He fared much better, however, when dropped right back down to seven furlongs at Southwell in April. He was beaten less than a length by Powerful Presence and Masai Moon, both of whom won next time out in good stlye, and he really stepped up on that effort when running out a comfortable winner of a Class 3 handicap at Ripon over a mile at the end of April.

The Cape Cross gelding is clearly thriving at present, this Newmarket race is usually a good contest, it has been won in the past by future Group race performers Confront and Green Destiny, and both Memory Cloth and Tullius could be good. The time was good, quicker comparatively than every race on the card except the Palace House Stakes won by Mayson, and Mayson could be a really top notch sprinter. Memory Cloth looks like he will be even better off an even stronger pace, and he has to be of interest for any of the really big Heritage Handicaps between a mile and a mile and a quarter now.

5th May 2012