Horses To Follow » Mission Approved

Mission Approved

Mission Approved probably put up the best performance of his life in finishing a short head second to Barnet Fair in the Stewards’ Cup consolation race at Goodwood on Saturday. Luca Cumani’s horse travelled best of all through the middle section of the race, and he picked up nicely a furlong and a half out when Shane Kelly asked him to. Favourite Tatlisu picked up at the same time, and Mission Approved got the better of that duel, but he just couldn’t get past Barnet Fair, who raced towards the far side the whole way.

The far side always appeared to have the upper hand. They were about two lengths in front passing the three-furlong pole, and they appeared to maintain that advantage until well inside the final furlong. Mission Approved and the well-fancied and well-backed Tatlisu did best of those who raced on the near side, and it may be that they were at least slightly disadvantaged by racing where they raced, given how the race panned out.

This was more like it from Mission Approved. It has been disappointing that he hasn’t been able to win again since he won a Class 4 handicap at Lingfield in May 2013, but he is obviously highly-regarded, he had been sent off as favourite for eight of his previous 12 races. He just seems to manage to find a way to lose. He has finished second or third now in his last six races.

This was the highest grade in which he had ever competed, and the step up in class and the faster pace that they went suited him well. The handicapper has raised him 4lb to a mark of 89, and that is fair. That is a mark off which he should be able to win a decent handicap. He does carry his head a little high, so perhaps a noseband or a set of blinkers or cheekpieces would help him. He has won on soft ground, he could be an Ayr Gold Cup or an Ayr Silver Cup horse. Alternatively, his two wins have been gained over seven furlongs, so he would also be of interest stepped up again to that trip.

2nd August 2014