Horses To Follow » Cloudscape


Cloudscape ran a lot better than his finishing position in fourth place suggests in the Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot on Thursday. Settled in fifth of the eight runner in the early stages of the race, he was a little keener than ideal initially, wanting to go a little faster than William Buick wanted in his cross-noseband. Travelling just about best of all as they levelled up for home, he got caught in among traffic towards the centre as Cannock Chase came from around the same position but swept down the outside. Buick initially went inside, where there was no racing room, before eventually switching to the outside. By the time he did, he was back in seventh place, around four lengths behind Cannock Chase, and with no realistic chance of winning. Even so, he did pick up well and he ran on strongly and willingly to the line to finish fourth. In another 100 yards he probably would have finished second.

This was another step forward from John Gosden’s progressive colt. Winner of his maiden in December on his racecourse debut, his only run as a juvenile, he beat the talented Windshear in a good 10-furlong handicap at Newmarket’s Craven meeting in April, and, after disappointing behind Barley Mow in a listed race at Newmarket’s Guineas meeting, he ran a cracker to finish second behind Top Tug in a handicap off a mark of 95 back at Newmarket’s July Course at the end of May. He wore a tongue-tie for the first time that day, so perhaps he had had trouble with his breathing in that race at Newmarket.

He raced too keenly in that race on the July Course as well, and was ultimately out-paced by the winner. He shaped, however, as if he would be better over further, notwithstanding the fact that he did not settle that well, even off 10-furlong pace. He is by Dansili, but he is out of a Sadler’s Wells mare who won over a mile and a half, so there could be significant improvement to come as he steps up in trip, especially if he learns to settle better, which he could well do as he gains in experience. He has raced just five times in his life, he still has lots of scope for progression, and he could prove to be a fair bit better than a handicapper.

19th June 2014