Horses To Follow » Velox


Velox was impressive in winning the Coral Challenge over an extended mile at Sandown on Saturday. Admittedly, the race was run to suit Luca Cumani’s horse. He appears to be at his best when he can be held up off a fast pace and, with St Morritz, Ifwecan and Busatto in the line-up, it was always likely that he would get that fast pace, which he duly did.

Actually, they went really fast. There must have been about 16 lengths between first and last by the time they started the turn for home. In that context, Cam Hardie – who was having his first ride for Cumani and who is top value for his 5lb claim – had adopted a lovely position on Velox in mid-division and on the inside rail. Still travelling well early in the home straight, he moved up in behind the leader Ifwecan at the two-furlong pole, pulled out with a furlong to run and, after taking a few strides to get balanced and perhaps to think about it a little, he picked up impressively and went on to win by three lengths.

This was a fine performance from Velox. He had been unlucky on his previous run at Epsom on Derby weekend when, but for being badly hampered, he would probably have finished third at worst, possibly second, behind Abseil in the Investec Mile. This was much more like it, and he seemed to be much more at home on the more conventional track. He was well-suited by the fast pace, but it was a solid race, run at a good pace and in a good time, the only other race, besides the Eclipse, that dipped below standard on the day.

The handicapper has raised Velox 9lb for this to a mark of 97, but he is progressive enough to take that type of hike in his stride, and it would be surprising if he did not prove to be a 100+ rated horse in time. This was just his eighth run ever, it was probably a career-best by some way, and he can progress again for it. It should be a confidence-booster too, just the second win of his life. He will always be of interest when it looks as if he will be able to sit in behind a fast pace. A fast-run mile on fast ground is probably his optimum.

5th July 2014