Horses To Follow » Tigers Tale

Tigers Tale

Tigers Tale probably ran a lot better than his finishing position in sixth place suggests in the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket on Saturday.

Quickly away from stall 25 towards the stands side, Danny Brock squeezed him along early to get him to the front of the near-side group. Once there, he was able to tack across and bag the near side rail, but that was not necessarily an advantage, and it did mean that he had used up a lot of energy through the opening furlong and a half of the race. As well as leading the stands-side group by a length and a half or two lengths after they had gone two furlongs, he also headed the far side group, so he had gone fastest of the 31 runners through the early part of the race, which was not ideal.

He travelled well from that point, however, a little keenly if anything, and he was still in front of the near-side group, and well ahead of the far side group, as they passed the three-furlong pole. The drive for home started at that point, which was plenty early enough for a horse who had led such a big field at a fast pace for the first six furlongs of the race. He did pick up on the run into the Dip, and he was still possibly just about in front, or at least disputing the lead, when they passed the furlong pole. He got tired from that point, however, understandable, and he hung away from the whip under a right hand drive into the centre of the course as he lost places. Once re-balanced, however, and after running into the back of Velox a little, he ran on nicely again up the hill to finish sixth overall and a highly-creditable third on the near side, just two lengths behind Velox, who did best of the near-side group.

The Cambridgeshire is usually a hold-up horse’s race. The big field usually leads to a pace that is so strong that it favours the hold-up horses and militates against the prominent racers. This year’s renewal was consistent with the norm, and Tigers Tale was the only horse who raced prominently in the race who was even close at the finish. The other horses who raced prominently on the near side, favourite Cornrow, The Rectifier and Queensberry Rules, faded to finish 13th, 24th and 30th respectively, while those who raced most prominently on the far side, Balty Boys, Bartack and Sound Advice, faded to finish 17th, 25th and 29th respectively. Tigers Tale did really well to keep on as well as he did.

Roger Teal’s horse is five years old, he has raced 31 times in his life, and he should not have any secrets from anybody. However, he went into the Cambridgeshire on the back of what was probably a career-best run to win at Kempton in early September, and his Cambridgeshire run was probably a step up on that again. He is in the form of his life.

He has to compete off a mark of 94 now, 3lb higher than the mark off which he raced on Saturday, but he should be capable of coping with that type of mark. He goes well on easy ground as well as the fast ground that he encountered on Saturday – his only win on turf was on good to soft ground at Newbury in June 2012, when he won a handicap by nine lengths – and he goes well on Polytrack.

He is entered in the new one-mile handicap at Ascot on Champions Day, and that is interesting. He is very good on Polytrack, he has won four of his 10 races on the synthetic surface, and we know that horses who do well on Polytrack can do very well on Ascot’s sand-based straight track. He has only run once at Ascot, in an 18-runner handicap over a mile in May 2013, and he did not run badly in finishing sixth, beaten a total of just three lengths. He will be of interest if he takes his chance in that Ascot race, especially if the ground comes up on the easy side.

27th September 2014