Horses To Follow » The Corsican

The Corsican

Free Eagle proved himself to be the top class horse that connections have always claimed him to be in winning the Prince of Wales’s Stakes on Wednesday on his seasonal debut, and The Grey Gatsby bounced back to form in getting to within a nose of him, but the quality of the performance that The Corsican put up in finishing fourth may have gone a little under the radar.

The Galileo colt was dropped in early by Jim Crowley, so it wasn’t ideal for him that Julien Auge was able to set conservative early fractions in front on Gailo Chop. The early pace was not fast, Gailo Chop sat in front and Pat Smullen was very happy to sit on his withers on Free Eagle, with the result that the field stacked up on the run down the side of the track, with several of those in behind, including The Grey Gatsby and Ectot, actually pulling for their heads.

Stone last of the nine runners and along the inside rail as they started the turn for home, The Corsican was angled towards the outside by Crowley early in the home straight, but it wasn’t until they neared the furlong pole that he actually managed to get him to the outside. Still eighth of nine passing the furlong pole, he picked up impressively once in the clear and, despite the fact that he was trying to make ground into a quickening pace, he finished really well down the outside to take fourth place, passing Gailo Chop, Cannock Chase, Spielberg and Criterion inside the final 200 yards, and just failing by a half a length to catch Western Hymn for third place.

This was another step forward by David Simcock’s horse. He had won his last two races last season – a 10-furlong handicap at Goodwood off a mark of 86 and a 10-furlong handicap at Doncaster off a mark of 93 – and he had been really impressive in winning a listed race over 10 furlongs at Goodwood on his debut this season. Even so, his new rating of 111 left him the joint lowest-rated horse in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, 15lb lower than the top-rated The Grey Gatsby, which is why he was allowed go off a 20/1 shot, but he more than justified Simcock’s decision to allow him take his chance in the race with the performance that he put up.

This was just his seventh race, so he still has plenty of scope for further progress. He does hold an entry in the King George, and he would be an interesting outsider in that, although the suspicion remains that a fast-run 10 furlongs is his optimum. He has lots of options at a slightly lower level, like the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket and the Sky Bet York Stakes at York. He will be of interest wherever he runs next, and he will be of particular interest when he returns to Ascot or Goodwood.

17th June 2015