Horses To Follow » Great Heavens

Great Heavens

Nothing too intricate here, the cat is well and truly out of the bag with Great Heavens, in fact it seems as though the cat was out of the bag even before the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks as she started a well-backed favourite despite the fact that she had the second lowest official rating before the race. John Gosden’s filly put up a really impressive performance in beating a high-class field of fillies on Saturday.

On what was a memorable afternoon for Gosden and owner Lady Rothschild (courtesy of this filly, Nathaniel and Trade Commissioner), Great Heavens set off in front, kicked clear from early in the home straight and drew right away to record a five-length win, despite being eased down in the closing stages, and the time was good, the only time that dipped under Racing Post par on the day.

The result was all the more meritorious because three-year-olds have struggled in the race in recent years, the previous five renewals having gone the way of older fillies, and Great Heavens was facing some high calibre older fillies here. She improved 12lb on Racing Post Ratings from her second to third runs, and another 16lb from her third to this one, her fourth, and her RPR of 115 is the highest awarded to a winner of this race since it became a Group 2 contest in 2004. She is taking giant steps forward with each run, and, as a sister to Nathaniel, the sky is the limit for her.

Lady Rothschild’s filly could be destined for some of the top middle-distance fillies races now, like the Irish Oaks, the Yorkshire Oaks or the Park Hill Stakes. Her three-parts sister Playful Act won this race in 2005 before going on to finish second to the high-class French filly Shawanda in the Irish Oaks, and John Gosden has mentioned the Curragh race as a possible target for Great Heavens, although she would have to be supplemented.

She probably doesn’t have quite as much pace as her brother, she just kept on rolling here, and so a step back to a mile and a quarter for the Nassau Stakes or the Prix de l’Opera may not be what she wants, though that can’t be said for certain given the way she is improving.

7th July 2012