Horses To Follow » Start Right

Start Right

Start Right ran another eye-catching race on Saturday in the featured Class 2 one-and-a-quarter-mile handicap at Sandown, and that is the third time in a row that he has shaped better than the bare result.

Carrying the first colours of Godolphin, he had a good inside draw, but he tends to be held up in his races and he had quite a rough passage down on the inside behind a sedate early pace. He got lit up by some jostling after a couple of furlongs and wasted valuable energy in a contest in which the first six home (Start Right was seventh) all settled nicely in the first seven or eight. Still well back at the top of home straight in what was quite a tightly bunched field, Start Right was hostage to fortune from there and he didn’t get a great deal of it.

He always had horses in front of him, and even when he tried to angle out and was picking up nicely a furlong out, he was completely hemmed in by Colour Guard. Winning the race may have been out of his reach by that stage anyway, the damage having already been done. But given how well he was going at the time, and how he managed to get up for seventh having had to pull back around Colour Guard inside the furlong marker, seemingly finishing full of running, it is not hard to argue that he may well have finished third.

Given his running style, the Footstepsinthesand gelding needs things to pan right for him – a fast pace on fast ground over 10 furlongs is probably his optimum – and he hasn’t been suited at all to the way his last three races have gone now. He was completely caught in a pocket at Glorious Goodwood all the way from three and a half furlongs out to one and a half furlongs out, Silvestre De Sousa wasn’t able to really ask him to pick up that whole time, and he was still able to finish third in a really competitive handicap. He was the only one of the first nine home in that race to have made significant ground from the rear, and it is not out of the question he would have challenged the impressive winner Landaman with a clearer run.

That Goodwood race is working out really strongly. The winner followed up later in the week at Goodwood under a penalty, the ninth home, Danadana won a similar race at the Ebor festival, in which Licence To Till, sixth in the Goodwood race, was third. Kirthill, who was only 13th, won well when stepped up to a mile and a half at the Ebor festival, and even Specific Gravity, beaten over 18 lengths into 15th, was a convincing winner of a handicap on his next run.

Start Right himself ran in the race won by Danadana at York afterwards, but the gallop was pedestrian and he had little chance having been held right up. Given a strongly-run 10 furlongs on good or fast ground, he is well up to winning a race like this. He hasn’t had much luck at all so far this season, but he is better than he has been able to show, and he is worth another chance.

1st September 2012