Horses To Follow » Skilful


Skilful ran an eye-catching race on his first run for 130 days at Newbury last Friday in the seven-furlong listed contest.

He was a little keen early on after his layoff, despite the fact that Scarf seemed to set a decent pace. He possibly saw a bit too much daylight on the near side from stall one, especially as William Buick brought him across under the stands side rail at halfway, the runners having been several horses off it up to that point. They all followed him over with the result that he just got squeezed a little up against the rail by Scarf a furlong and a half out. Admittedly he wasn’t travelling as well as Scarf, the eventual winner, at the time, but it still meant that Buick had to sit up for a few strides and then switch around Scarf when he was impeded again just over a furlong from home. Buick gave him a few slaps of the whip coming inside the final furlong, but he wasn’t overly hard on him through the closing stages when the gap between Scarf and Producer to his outside closed on him. If that gap hadn’t have closed, he probably would have finished third.

The John Gosden-trained colt should strip a good deal fitter than this next time, and he can progress again with this run under his belt. He shouldn’t be as keen either with this run to take the freshness off him. His form suggests that he is better having had a recent run than when he is fresh, so he is of interest for the rest of the season now. He is only four, this was only the eighth run of his life and, being by Selkirk, he will probably be slightly better with some cut in the ground, and it was soft when he got to within a length and a quarter of the talented Tullius in a listed race at Windsor on his previous run. He may also prove best back up at a mile, even though he did fare well here over seven furlongs on quickish ground considering he was returning from a break. He is interesting.

21st September 2012