Past Winners » Steps


I am backing Steps again here. Obviously it was disappointing that he just got touched off when we backed him in the Portland Handicap at Doncaster, but he ran a cracker there to lead home those who raced centre to far side. He has been consistent all season but he is at his best on easy ground – four of his five wins have been on ground that the times indicate was good to soft or softer – and that Doncaster run was a career-best back on easy ground for the first time since May.

On the back of that run he was made 4/1 joint favourite for the Group 3 World Trophy at Newbury two weeks ago, but that was much too short a price and he ran a rare poor race. That said, it probably wasn’t quite as poor as the bare form suggests. He was one of five horses who raced close to the stands side, and none of the five could get involved at all, all the action was down the centre where the pace was much stronger from the outset. On top of that, he met some traffic problems and he could just never get into the race.

Because of that run, however, he is a bigger price today despite dropping in grade to a listed race and returning to Ascot, where he has run some very good races. He was probably unlucky to be beaten there in July when he was one of just two horses to race on the stands side, and the winner, Ascot specialist Barnet Fair, challenged right over on the far side.

There should be a really strong pace on here, which will suit him well, and he is drawn alongside two potential front-runners in Masamah and Definightly, so he should get a good tow into the race. Roger Varian’s other horse in the race, Rocky Ground, is now a non-runner, but Jamie Spencer, who had ridden Rocky Ground in his last couple of runs and who has never ridden Steps, may even have had the choice and may have opted for Steps. He is over-priced for me at 7/1.

STEPS WON (ADV 7/1, SP 11/2)