Horses To Follow » Quiz Mistress

Quiz Mistress

Quiz Mistress should have finished a lot closer than fifth, three lengths behind the winner Silk Sari, in the Listed Chalice Stakes at Newbury on Sunday.

Held up in mid-division and along the inside by Richard Hughes through the early stages of the race, Hughie Morrison’s mare was a little keener than ideal off just an even pace racing towards the home turn. She travelled really well into the home straight, with Hughes seeking a gap from fully four furlongs out. None materialised out in the centre of the track, however, so she switched towards the inside as leader Cascading tending to hang away from the rail.

But Quiz Mistress is a real galloper, not necessarily a quickener and, off just a moderate gallop, it took her a little while to pick up. She could not produce an instant burst of acceleration that would have enabled her take the gap on the rail when it materialised. It was not until they reached the furlong pole that she began to make real headway but, just as it appeared as if she could go past Cascade and challenge for the lead, Silk Sari swooped on the outside and moved to her left, taking Cascade with her and squeezing Quiz Mistress up against the rail. Hughes had to take her back sharply in order to avoid a catastrophe, and she just coasted through the final 50 yards.

It is impossible to know how Quiz Mistress would have fared had she not been impeded. She would definitely have finished a close-up fourth at worst, but she could have done a lot better than that. She probably would have finished third at worst, she could possibly have finished second, and there is a small chance that she would have stayed on well enough to go very close to winning.

In any case, it was a fine run. The moderate pace was not in her favour and, even off that pace, she would have gone very close had she been able to get out earlier to deliver her run down the centre of the course, as the winner and second Moment In Time were able to do.

This was a good race. Silk Sari is progressive, and she had got to within four lengths of subsequent Nassau Stakes winner Sultanina in the Lancashire Oaks on her previous run (and she had got to within a half a length of her on her run before that), while Moment In Time is in the form of her life and had run a cracker on her previous outing at York. Also, the winning time was good, the fastest comparative race on a good day’s racing at a Grade 1 track.

The ground was officially good, but the times on the day suggest that it was just on the easy side, and that helped Quiz Mistress. She is six now, but her last three runs have been three of the best of her career. She should do even better now for a greater test of stamina, which she may get soon as we move towards the autumn and the ground begins to ease all over. She does seem to enjoy these tracks with long home straights, so she will be of interest over a mile and a half or a mile and six back at Newbury or at Haydock or Doncaster. The Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting would be a realistic medium-term target.

3rd August 2014