Horses To Follow » Great Minds

Great Minds

Great Minds put up a really nice performance to win the big six-furlong handicap at The Curragh on Sunday, coming, as he did, from stall one in a race in which it is usually a significant advantage to be drawn high.

Bounced out of the stalls fairly sharpish, rider Wayne Lordan was able to take him across towards the middle of the track and tuck in behind the leaders.  That mitigated the disadvantage of his low draw somewhat, as did the fact that the field raced away from the stands rail, not flush against it, as they often do over six furlongs at The Curragh.

Always travelling well, Great Minds picked up nicely just outside the furlong pole, joined Dashwood 150 yards out and went on to win nicely by three parts of a length, with two and a half lengths back to Wexford Opera in third.  The time of the race was good, the fastest comparative time on Irish 1000 Guineas day, with the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup and the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes run on the day as well as the fillies’ Classic, and it was four and a half seconds faster than the other six-furlong race run on the day, the juveniles’ maiden. Also, while comparisons of times on different days is an inexact science, Great Minds did clock a slightly faster time than the time that the top class Slade Power clocked in winning the Greenlands Stakes over the same course and distance the day before, on ground that was estimated to have been only marginally slower.

This was a visually impressive performance from Tommy Stack’s horse, but it was probably even better than it looked, given the fast time and the fact that he was probably drawn worst of all.  Initial inclination was to conclude that a low draw was not as big a disadvantage as it usually is, given how the race was run, but the four horses who chased the winner home were drawn, respectively, 18, 27, 17 and 21.  The next-best placed horse who raced from a single-figure stall finished 10th.  Also, the first six home in this race last year emerged from, respectively, stalls 24, 26, 23, 22, 25 and 21. It is probable that a low draw was still a significant disadvantage in Sunday’s race, and Great Minds probably did really well to overcome it as readily as he did.

The handicapper has raised him 10lb for this run, but he still has massive scope for progression, given that he is still only four and that this was just his fifth ever race.  Second in his last two races last season, he has now won his first two races this term.  He is on a significant upward trajectory, and there is no telling how high he can go.  It may be that he needs soft ground to be at his best – he has never raced on ground that has been faster than yielding – and it may not be a coincidence that both his wins were gained on his only two runs at The Curragh, but there is no reason why he cannot be as effective away from headquarters.  He is entered in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot, and he will be of interest if he takes his chance in that, especially if the ground comes up on the easy side, but he could be better than a handicapper very soon.

25th May 2014