Horses To Follow » Noble Silk

Noble Silk

Noble Silk ran a big race to finish fourth in the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate at Newcastle on Saturday.

Held up out the back through the early stages of the race, and fifth last of the 19 runners as they turned for home, Lucy Wadham’s horse made nice progress up the inside from early in the home straight. Moving into sixth place as they passed the two-furlong pole, he continued to make progress until a half a furlong from home, when he had to check outside long-time leader Ardlui. But for that, he would almost certainly have finished third behind Angel Gabrial and Suegioo, and he probably would have got very close to Suegioo in second. As it was, he did well to finish fourth.

This was an excellent effort from the grey Sir Percy gelding. The race was not run at a great pace, the field was well-clustered for the first mile of the race, with several horses straining the reins, and the winner and second were in the first eight throughout. Six of the first eight home raced in the first half of the field from early, with Noble Silk and Repeater – who still has the talent to land one of these big staying handicaps once everything drops right for him – the only ones who could get close from the rear.

This was Noble Silk’s 19th run, but he appears to be in the form of his life these days. His penultimate run at Haydock, his first on turf this season, when he beat the talented Nearly Caught with more in hand than the two-length winning margin, was probably a career-best, and this was probably another step forward from that.

The handicapper has left him on his mark of 95 after this, and that is more than fair. The Ebor is the obvious race for him, but it is a little bit of a concern in the context of that race that he disappointed in a handicap at the Ebor meeting last year, and that he is zero for two at York, a track at which course form is key. He would be of greater interest at Glorious Goodwood, a track at which, on his only visit, he went down by a neck to the talented Duke Of Clarence in a handicap last June.

28th June 2014