Horses To Follow » Highland Knight

Highland Knight

Highland Knight ran a cracker from the front in the Group 2 Bet365 Mile at Sandown last Friday, in a race in which it looked like there would be a contested lead.

Uneasy in the market beforehand, David Probert immediately took Highland Knight to the front, and he bowled along two lengths ahead of the well-backed Farraaj. He had the field well strung out turning into the home straight, but he hung badly to his left when his rider asked him to pick up just over two furlongs from home, and he continued to do so inside the final quarter of a mile. He still kept on rolling out in front though, he was straightened up a furlong out and he stuck to his task really well, only giving best to the high-class Trumpet Major inside the final furlong. Even after he was headed he kept on well and was actually edging away again from the third horse, Chil The Kite, late on.

Even though he was weak in the market just before the off, Trumpet Major would probably have been primed for this, he has a very good record when fresh and Richard Hannon had won six of the previous nine renewals of the race, so this was probably a big effort from Highland Knight to get as close to the winner as he did. It is probably stretching it a little to say that he would have won but, had he kept straight all the way up the home straight, he would have gone even closer.

The Andrew Balding-trained six-year-old usually takes a run or two to put him right, this was his second run of the season after his run in the Doncaster Mile, and he should be spot on for next time now. Given the way he drifted left here, ideally his next run would be on a left-handed track, perhaps at York’s Dante meeting or at Epsom’s Derby meeting. He has run two cracking races on his two previous visits to Epsom in the Investec Mile on Oaks day, finishing second in the race in 2011 and winning it last year. A rating of 113 means that that race is not an option for him this term, but the Diomed Stakes on Derby day, which Andrew Balding won last year with Side Glance and in 2004 with Passing Glance, could be the race for him now. Longer term, he won a Group 2 at Baden-Baden last season and no doubt there will be more opportunities for him at that level abroad this term too.

26th April 2013