Horses To Follow » Ascription


Ascription stepped up on his highly encouraging seasonal debut to run a cracker in chasing home Cable Bay in the John of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock on Saturday.

Restrained from the stalls by Graham Lee, he got across nicely to the inside rail before they started to turn, but he was still well back in the field when they levelled up for home. No better than eighth or ninth of the 13 runners when they passed the three-furlong pole, he continued to make ground on the far side and he got a nice gap after the cutaway. He picked up when Lee asked him to, but the front-runners picked up too. He got past all of them with the exception of Cable Bay, to whom he went down by just a half a length at the line.

This was a good race, Cable Bay is a talented performer who was probably under-rated by a fair way going into Saturday’s race, and he had the run of the race, he was prominent from early in a race that was run to suit the prominent racers. The pace held up well, the three horses who raced in first, second and third from flagfall finished first, third and sixth. Ascription did really well to get into the race from the rear.

Hugo Palmer’s horse only finished eighth on his debut this season, but that was a most encouraging run, he was again held up in a race that was run to suit the prominent racers, and he still looked a threat until lack of a recent run – he hadn’t run in over 500 days – took its toll. This was another step forward, he circumvented the bounce factor, such as it exists, and he put up one of the best performances of his career. He is in the form of his life now, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next. He seems to be equally adept over seven furlongs and a mile, and fast pace suits his hold-up style of racing. As such, he will be of interest if he takes his chance in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot. The handicapper raised him 4lb for Saturday’s run but, because the Hunt Cup had already closed, he would get to race off his old mark of 106. The one worry is that he disappointed on his only run at Ascot, but that was in a hot handicap off a career-high mark of 109 and at the end of a long season. Also, it was his last run before his 20-month break, so perhaps it was something other than a failure to act on the track that caused him to under-perform.

30th May 2015