Horses To Follow » Elite Army

Elite Army

There was a lot to like about the performance that Elite Army put up in winning a decent handicap at Sandown last Thursday evening.  Well-backed just before the off, the Godolphin colt was keener than ideal through the early stages of the race as Kieren Fallon tried to restrain him behind the early leaders Warrior Of Light and Sayed Youmzain.

The early pace was not that fast, but it was fast enough in the conditions, and Elite Army was the only one of the seven runners who appeared to want to go faster.

Still straining the reins as they turned for home, it looked like he was going to struggle to get a run as fellow Godolphin horse Gold Trail raced up on his outside, tight in against the leader Warrior Of Light. Angled out a little at the two-furlong pole, Fallon was able to find a gap between Munaaser and Gold Trail, and Elite Army had the speed and the energy to take it.  He joined Gold Trail in front at the furlong pole, and powered away to win impressively, going two and a half lengths clear by the time they reached the winning line.

This was a really likeable performance by the Authorized colt.  Not much went right through the race for him, he had to engineer his own racing room, and you would have forgiven him had he not been able to muster too much of an effort in the closing stages on the soft ground given how much energy he surely expended by racing keenly through the early stages of the race.  He had only finished third on his seasonal debut behind Windshear over this course and distance in April, and the form of that race has taken a few small knocks in the interim, but he raced like a horse who would come on for the run that day, and he duly did so on Thursday.

Thursday’s race was just his third race ever, so he still has lots of scope to progress further.  It will be interesting to see what the handicapper does with his mark of 86, but hopefully he won’t be too harsh, because he should be interesting in another handicap now, and he could be a fair bit better than a handicapper.  It is interesting that he held an entry in the Dante until he got beaten on his seasonal debut, and he could still progress to be a Group race performer, especially if and when he learns to settle better in his races.  He handles soft ground well, but he won his maiden on Polytrack, so there is every chance that he will handle faster turf too.

This 10-furlong trip suits him well, but he is bred to get further, so there could be even more progress forthcoming when he steps up to a mile and a half.  He could be a King George V Handicap horse for Royal Ascot, but he will be of interest wherever he goes next.

22nd May 2014