Horses To Follow » Valencha


Valencha was desperately unlucky at Salisbury two weeks ago, getting hampered three times by the winner through the final furlong and a half, including quite badly close to the line, and yet was still only beaten a length by Baheeja, who was completing a hat-trick, and Hughie Morrison’s filly was unlucky again at Doncaster last week.

She was stepping back up to Group 3 level for just the second time, having been well beaten on her only other try in this grade at Epsom. They did go off too fast in front and, as a hold-up horse, Valencha was advantaged by that, but she was certainly not advantaged by her passage through the race, and she may well have gone very close to winning this and beating the impressive winner Sunday Times with a clearer run.

She was drawn right on the far side in stall one, and as the race panned out that was a negative in itself, as the action all unfolded on the near side, with the fancied pair Sentaril and Gamilati having chosen to race alone against the stands rail for much of the race. Valencha was still well back in the field, but travelling strongly, two furlongs out, alongside the eventual winner, but whereas Jamie Spencer was able to secure a clear passage for Sunday Times, Richard Hughes was waiting for a gap to emerge between runners down the centre of the track, and his mare was badly caught up in the backwash of an incident between Coolnagree and Radio Gaga a furlong and a half out.

That left her some five lengths off the leader and a couple of lengths adrift of Sunday Times with a furlong to run, she had a lot to do to even get involved. While the leaders were stopping in front having gone off too hard, the manner in which Valencha picked up was still really likeable, and she finished well to take third place.

The daughter of Domedriver has been raised 9lb for this effort, but that was to be expected. She is in the form of her life, and she will still be of interest in a handicap off that mark, simply because she will be running in high-grade handicaps off that mark in which they should go a strong pace, which will suit her. She remains a specialist seven-furlong mare, and there could also still be a pattern race like this one in her if things drop her way.

13th September 2012