Horses To Follow » De Rigueur

De Rigueur

The Class 2 two-mile handicap at Haydock on Saturday looked a good race beforehand and, with the top two in the market drawing clear and the winner breaking the track record, it looks very strong form. The winner De Rigueur travelled like the most likely winner from a long way out, and he is a really progressive horse who looks well worth following.

The Marco Botti-trained gelding raced further back in the field than the second, third and fourth, he was given quite a patient ride by Adam Kirby, gradually creeping into the race in the home straight. Pulled to the outside of the front pair going strongly just inside the final quarter of a mile, Kirby never had to get overly serious with him, he picked up impressively when asked to go to the front a furlong out and he won with a little in hand. There aren’t too many good two-mile races at Haydock, but the fact that De Rigueur broke the course record and went over a second under standard is notable, and the time was 0.16 seconds/furlong faster than any other time on the day.

Sun Central saw the trip out well in second, but De Rigueur was just a better handicapped horse, he was travelling more fluently at every stage of the race and, given how far ahead of the third the first two pulled, an 8lb hike could be lenient.

De Rigueur appeared to improve for the fitting of cheekpieces for the first time to go along with his tongue-tie, and for the step back up in trip. His only previous attempt at two miles was at Kempton, when he hit the front on the bridle fully two furlongs out but was just out-battled by Seaside Sizzler. He finished off his race really strongly here though, probably aided by the cheekpieces.

He could be a Northumberland Plate horse now. Newcastle is not dissimilar to Haydock as a left-handed track with a long home straight, and he has won on heavy ground as well as this fast ground, so he is clearly versatile with regard to ground conditions. A half-brother to the high-class fillies Echelon and Chic and out of a Coronation Stakes winner, he has often been well backed in the past, he is obviously impressing at home, and there could yet be more to come from him now with his cheekpieces to help and this win under his belt.

8th June 2013