Horses To Follow » Claret Cloak

Claret Cloak

Claret Cloak ran a cracker on his seasonal debut at Ascot on Saturday in a really good two-mile handicap hurdle, finishing third to the highly-talented and progressive Raya Star and the unexposed It’s A Gimme.

Whereas he was held up in his three novice hurdles last season, Claret Cloak was ridden much more prominently by Sam Twiston-Davies on this occasion, tracking the habitual clear leader Fiendish Flame, towing along the pack. He travelled strongly and jumped accurately, and he moved to the front with a quick jump over the fourth last. He was there to be shot at as the field closed up in behind him as they got ready for the turn for home, but he pulled out more on the run to the second last, he was still a length in front at the last, and although the first two came past him soon after the last, he stuck on really well to get back up for third from War Singer over on the far side and to hold off the strong-finishing Street Entertainer.

Emma Lavelle reports that the horse didn’t stay when he ran over two miles and three furlongs on soft ground on his hurdling debut last season, and that two miles on top of the ground is his optimum. The trainer’s horses are tending to come on for their debuts this season, so Claret Cloak is obviously very much worth looking out for next time now. He looked well suited to being held up last season but seemed to enjoy being ridden prominently here, so he is probably just a straightforward horse. He is still only five, he has been raised just 3lb to 136, and there could be a big handicap in him this season.

3rd November 2012