Horses To Follow » David Livingston

David Livingston

Mandour was obviously the class act in the Listed Gala Stakes over a mile and a quarter at Sandown last Friday, having finished a close third in the Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan on his previous run, and he duly improved for the step up to a stiff mile and a quarter. However, David Livingston put up a nice performance to finish a close-up fourth, and he has the potential to progress from this.

The former Ballydoyle inmate, now in the care of Mike De Kock, was restrained at the start from stall one to race quite well back through the field up the inside, which wasn’t ideal in a race that wasn’t run at a fast pace. He travelled well into the home straight, but he was stuck behind horses until well inside the two-furlong marker. By the time he got into the clear, he was five or six lengths behind the leaders and trying to pick up into a quickening pace. He did pick u, quite impressively, down the outside, and he closed all the way to the line to just fail to get up for third place.

This was a hot renewal of this listed contest. Not only did the winner have Group 1 form, but so did the runner-up Afsare. Also, the third horse, the John Gosden-trained three-year-old Excess Knowledge, was well backed for this, his first run of the season, and a length further behind in fifth was the Classic-placed Van Der Neer.

This was another step forward from David Livingston after his fifth in the Royal Hunt Cup, when he was first home on the stands side. Winner of the Group 2 Beresford Stakes for Aidan O’Brien as a juvenile, he was rated a stone inferior to the top-rated pair Mandour and Afsare going into this race, which shows how stiff a task he faced meeting that rival on level terms, and how well he performed. Fourth in a Chester Vase and tried over a mile and six furlongs as a three-year-old, he started off over seven furlongs for his new trainer, but he stays a mile and a quarter well on this evidence. This could be his optimum trip, although the manner in which he finished off his race gives him every chance of getting a mile and a half. By Galileo out of a half-sister to High Chaparral, it wouldn’t be surprising if he had the stamina for that trip.

He deserves his place in listed class – and there will be easier races at this level – and he will also be interesting back in handicap company after just a 4lb rise for this. He could progress again for his new yard, he has the latent talent to be a high-class middle distance performer.

5th July 2013