Horses To Follow » Western Prize

Western Prize

Western Prize’s effort in finishing second to the progressive and potentially really smart Montaser in the Brown Jack Stakes at Ascot last Friday can be marked up as he wasn’t suited to the slow early pace or the way the race panned out.

The pace was particularly steady – the winning time was seven seconds slower than standard on what was really quick ground – and that suited Montaser who was stepping right up in trip from a mile and a half to two miles, but it didn’t suit Western Prize, who had proven himself to be a strong galloper when winning at Salisbury on his previous run. As well as that, Richard Hughes just got caught on the inside on Western Prize at the top of the home straight as Monstaser swept around the outside. He did well to squeeze between Kangaroo Court and the rail, but by then the winner had flown and stayed on well all the way to the line. Western Prize got out after him, and looked for a few strides as if he might get close, but Montaser wasn’t stopping with the pace having been slow, and Western Prize couldn’t get close enough to land a blow.

That said, he did come away from the remainder, and time may show that there was no disgrace in going down to a highly-progressive and well-regarded rival. Ralph Beckett’s horse remains progressive himself, this was only the seventh start of his career. Judging by the way he had been backed on his first two runs of the season, including in a Class 2 handicap at Newmarket, he is highly-regarded by the Beckett team, and there should me much more to come from him, especially when he encounters a true test of stamina. Those first two runs of the season are working out really well, particularly the former, with winner Mount Athos following up in the John Smith’s Silver Cup at York, third placed Hurricane Higgins winning the Goodwood Stakes, and fourth placed Viking Storm winning a useful race at Lingfield in good style.

27th July 2012