Horses To Follow » Waffle


Despite the fact that Waffle still has yet to win again since he won his maiden as a two-year-old in April 2008, and that he has finished second seven times from 23 runs since, he dispelled any doubts about his willingness to win when finishing second for the second consecutive year in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot on Saturday, given that he finished clear of the near side group, only to be out-done by Dandy Boy on the far side.

Held right up, he was still last of the near side group with two furlongs to run but travelling comfortably, and he made smooth progress through the other 12 runners to the furlong marker. He was held up fractionally in his run just inside the final furlong, but he burst through inside Elusivity to beat those on the near side by a length and a half, a margin that was even greater a few strides after the line. Unfortunately for him, Dandy Boy was a length and a quarter ahead of him on the far side.

This was a big effort, despite his propensity to finish second he didn’t know there was another horse in front of him on the far side, as far as he was concerned he went and won his race, and did so impressively on the near side. David Barron’s gelding has been put back up 3lb to a mark of 103, but he was raised 7lb to 107 for his run to finish second to Deacon Blues in last year’s Wokingham, and a 3lb rise for this performance is not harsh. He can win one of these big handicaps soon, he certainly has the ability and he proved here that he has the will too, he was just unfortunate that he was on the wrong side as things panned out.

Waffle handles soft ground, it was soft ground when he was a neck second to Deacon Blues in the race last year, giving James Fanshawe’s horse 2lb, clear of Pastoral Player in third, and the winner ended the season rated 22lb higher than the mark off which he raced in the Wokingham. He obviously goes particularly well at Ascot, he was second, beaten a neck by Amour Propre, in the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes as a two-year-old at the track as well, and he is worth a close look wherever he goes now, but particularly when he returns to Ascot.

20th June 2012