Horses To Follow » Jack Dexter

Jack Dexter

Jack Dexter ran a lot better than his finishing position in fifth place suggests in the Group 2 Temple Stakes at Haydock on Saturday.

Weak in the ante post market for the race, but strong in the day-of-race market immediately before the off, Jim Goldie’s horse travelled well in rear for Graham Lee through the first couple of furlongs.  However, just when Hot Streak quickened from the front and when Lee wanted to go forward, Mirza moved to his left in front of him and closed the gap that there had been between him and Kingsgate Native.  Whatever chance Jack Dexter had of winning the race was effectively ended there in that manoeuvre.  He continued to be short of room until deep inside the final furlong, by which time the race was well over for him as a contest.  He did run on nicely through the final 100 yards to take fifth place, however, well behind the front two Hot Streak and Pearl Secret, but beaten just a neck and a head for third.

After two disappointing runs to kick off this season, this was much more encouraging from Jack Dexter.  He was well beaten when favourite for both the Cammidge Trophy and the Group 2 Duke of York Stakes, both run over six furlongs on easy ground, supposedly optimal conditions for the Orientor gelding.  And it is not as though he doesn’t go well fresh.  He won a listed race on his debut last season, and he won two of his first three races in 2012, his first season racing. Perhaps those disappointing performances can be put down to the form of his yard, which had been quiet enough through the early stages of the season, but which is showing signs of a revival recently.

Jack Dexter still has the potential to be a top class sprinter.  The five furlongs of the Temple Stakes, even on soft ground, was probably too short for him anyway – he has won once and finished second once in two runs over seven furlongs – and the return to six furlongs should see him happier still, especially if that coincides with easy ground again.  He has a good record at Ascot, he has won once and he was beaten a neck by Slade Power once in four runs there, and he would be interesting if he took his chance in the Diamond Jubilee, especially if it happened to come up soft.  Looking further ahead, he will be of interest if he lines up in any of the big six-furlong races later in the season, the July Cup or the Sprint Cup or the British Champions Sprint Stakes, especially if, as above, the ground rides on the easy side.

24th May 2014