Horses To Follow » Highland Colori

Highland Colori

Highland Colori was completing a hat-trick when winning at Sandown last Thursday, and he still looks as though he could be worth following.

David Probert made the most of a good draw in stall one, he was able to secure a narrow outright advantage after a furlong and a half with Ian Mongan on Lowther happy to allow Probert have the lead, and he didn’t have to go too fast early on. He stuck to his guns really well though, he fought off Weapon Of Choice inside the final furlong, Tom Queally having moved up on the turn into the home straight to have a crack, they locked horns fully three furlongs from home, and that battled could have softened the pair of them up and made them vulnerable to a late closer, but Highland Colori was also able to withstand Directorship’s late surge. The time was good, quicker than the listed three-year-old Heron Stakes a half an hour earlier, and only a fraction slower comparatively than the time clocked by Carlton House in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes.

Highland Colori had to prove that he stayed a mile here, which he did, conclusively, and there are plenty of options for him now as a consequence. Andrew Balding’s horse has a really likeable attitude and he remains progressive. He has been raised another 3lb for this, but that is not excessive, and although he has won three in a row now and finished second on his only other run of the season, he has only gone up a total of 15lb, he hasn’t been winning his races by far, and there could still be a fair bit more to come from him.

It is difficult to say how good he could be at this stage. He battled on tenaciously all the way up the home straight here, and he may prove to be a very difficult horse to pass when he gets to lead over seven furlongs or a mile. This was just his eighth race, and he remains firmly on the upgrade.

The obvious race for him now that he has proved he stays a mile well is the Royal Hunt Cup, but obviously it will be harder to make all over a straight mile in a race as competitive as that. Also, the Hunt Cup is an early-closing race, he would have a 5lb penalty for this win should he take up his entry there and so would be 2lb wrong at the weights. In this form, and with the potential for more still to come, he would be worth a second look were he to turn up at Ascot, but he would be better handicapped were he to side-step that early-closing race. In the circumstances, if Andrew Balding is intent on taking him to Royal Ascot, the Buckingham Palace over seven furlongs, where he could race off his true handicap mark, may be a more suitable target. A mark of 88 could see him sneak in towards the very bottom of the handicap in the Buckingham Palace. He has won on soft ground and on good to firm ground, and the fact that he is also one for one on an all-weather surface is no liability when it comes to racing on Ascot’s straight track these days.

31st May 2012