Horses To Follow » Niceofyoutotellme


Niceofyoutotellme ran out of his skin to finish third in the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown on Wednesday evening, going down by a head and a neck to Western Hymn and Arab Spring, with two lengths back to the highly talented Eagle Top.

This is strong form even on the bare reading of it. Western Hymn was two for two at Sandown, two for two over this course and distance, going into the race. He is quirky, but he had been gelded during the winter, and he looked like an improved horse when he won the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes on his debut this season in April. Arab Spring is a highly progressive individual, he won the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot last year, he landed the Group 3 John Porter Stakes at Newbury on his debut this season, and he had it all to himself up front on Thursday. Also, the winning time was good, just 0.11secs/furlong slower than standard and the fastest comparative time on a high-class evening’s racing.

Niceofyoutotellme did get a nice tow into the race in Arab Spring’s slipstream. A little keener than ideal if anything in his hood, he travelled well into the home straight behind Arab Spring and Eagle Top on the rail. He got a lovely split as Eagle Top rolled away from the rail at the two-furlong pole, but he just didn’t have the pace to move into, trying, as he was, to make his ground into a quickening pace. Two lengths behind entering the final furlong, there was a lot to like about the manner in which he stayed on from there, moving off the rail and closing all the way to the line to be closest at the finish.

It was a fine run from Ralph Beckett’s horse. He is six years old now, but he has reportedly had problems with his feet, and he is relatively lightly-raced as a result. He looked like an improved horse on his debut this year when he finished a close-up fourth behind French Navy and subsequent Lockinge Stakes third Arod and Lincoln runner-up Mondialiste in the Group 3 Earl of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket’s Craven meeting in April. That was probably a career-best performance and, stepped back up to 10 furlongs and stepped up in grade, Thursday’s run was another step forward from that. He was by far the lowest-rated horse in Thursday’s race, his rating of 105 leaving him 7lb below the next lowest-rated Arab Spring – from whom he was admittedly getting 3lb – and 14lb lower than the top-rated Eagle Top, whom he beat, off level weights.

The Hernando gelding is at his best on fast ground and, while he is good over nine furlongs, it may be that 10 furlongs is his optimum now. Actually, the manner in which he finished off his race here suggests that he could get 11 or 12 furlongs. He does go particularly well at Newmarket, he won a decent handicap on the July Course in 2013 and, in three runs on the Rowley Mile course, he has won once, finished second in a Cambridgeshire and finished fourth in that Earl of Sefton Stakes. He will be of particular interest if and when he returns to Newmarket, but he looks like a generally improved horse this season as a six-year-old, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next.

28th May 2015