Horses To Follow » Intense Tango

Intense Tango

Intense Tango can be marked up a fair bit on the bare form of her run to finish third behind Headline News and Almodovar in the 12-furlong handicap at Pontefract on Sunday, given the interference that she suffered early in the home straight. She would certainly have finished closer without the incident, and it is not stretching it to say that, without the interference, she might even have won.

Settled nicely towards the rear of the 11-runner field by Paul Mulrennan through the early stages of the race, Karl Burke’s filly travelled well on the inside down the side of the course. Angled out a little around the home turn, she found a nice seam towards the rail as they started up the hill, and she travelled well into the home straight just behind the favourite Almodovar as that one kicked for home. Mulrennan asked Intense Tango to go through the wide gap between the favourite and the fading leader Moonrise Landing but, when he did, Almodovar hung to his left and squeezed her up towards the far rail. Mulrennan had to take back, losing all momentum, which is a significant disadvantage up Pontefract’s final climb. It looked at that point as if she was going to be passed for third and probably fourth as well, as Headline News and Almodovar duelled up front, so it was to the Mastercraftsman filly’s immense credit that she got going again and closed all the way to the line, going down by just a half a length and a length, with the front three nicely clear. Also, the winning time was good, the fastest comparative time of the day by a fair way and just 0.13secs/furlong slower than standard.

Winner of a Class 4 three-year-olds’ 12-furlong handicap off a mark of 72 last August, Intense Tango improved in novice hurdles last winter, winning two of her first three races before finishing third behind Glingerburn and Bristol De Mai in a Grade 2 hurdle at Kelso in February. She rounded off her hurdling campaign by finishing a close-up fifth behind All Yours in the Grade 1 juveniles’ hurdle at Aintree’s Grand National meeting in April.

She had run just once on the flat this season before last Sunday, she finished a promising fourth in a 12-furlong handicap at Thirsk two weeks previously off a mark of 78. This was another step forward on that. The handicapper can’t be too harsh on her for this, he shouldn’t raise her by too much from her mark of 78, and that is a mark off which she should be able to win a handicap. She has a really nice progressive profile now on the flat, and even her hurdles mark of 135 suggests that she could be really well-handicapped on the flat.

16th August 2015