Horses To Follow » Flaming Spear

Flaming Spear

There was a lot to like about the performance that Flaming Spear put up in winning the six-furlong maiden at York on Saturday.

An €11,000 yearling but a £220,000 breeze-up horse as a two-year-old, the Kevin Ryan-trained colt was well-backed for this, his racecourse debut, he was sent off the 11/10 favourite and, in truth, his backers never really had too much to worry about. Settled just behind the leaders, he made nice progress to get in behind the leader Lady Gemini at the two-furlong pole. It took him a few strides after Ryan Moore asked him for his effort to find top gear, but he closed on the leader at the furlong pole, picked her up just inside the final furlong and went away to win by about three lengths, with the runner-up coming four and a half lengths clear of the third horse.

There probably wasn’t great strength in-depth in this maiden, but the time wasn’t bad for maidens, for a racecourse debutant, it was a half a second faster than the Class 2 nursery that ended the card, in which the top weight was rated 92, and in which two 84-rated horses, carrying 6lb less than Flaming Spear, fought out a three-way finish. More than that, however, it was the manner of the Lope De Vega colt’s victory that impressed. He was a little green, it did appear to take him a few strides to figure out what his rider wanted him to do but, once he did, he picked up impressively and powered all the way to the line, coming clear of his closest pursuer, who in turn came clear of her closest pursuer.

Interestingly, Kevin Ryan won the previous two renewals of this race as well. He won the 2012 renewal with Blaine, who won the Gimcrack Stakes over the same course and distance on his next run, and he won last year’s renewal with The Grey Gatsby, who finished second in the Acomb Stakes back at York on his next run (over seven furlongs) and who won the Dante and the French Derby this year. It is obviously a race that the trainer targets with his better juveniles, and there is every reason to expect that Flaming Spear can go on from this now.

He is entered in the Gimcrack and the National Stakes at The Curragh. He is a colt with lots of size and scope, and he will be of interest if he takes his chance in either race, but particularly if he takes his chance in the former, given that he is proven over the course and distance, and that he would then be stepping in Blaine’s footsteps.

12th July 2014