Horses To Follow » Highland Acclaim

Highland Acclaim

Highland Acclaim ran a big race to finish second behind Caspian Prince in the extended five-furlong handicap that opened proceedings at York’s Ebor meeting on Wednesday.

David O’Meara’s horse was not as slowly away as he can be, and he was able to adopt a nice position on the far side just behind the pace through the early stages of the race. The problem was that the pace held up well. Caspian Prince led from early, he made just about all the running. Also, Silvanus and Desert Law, third and fourth, were handy from early, as was the sixth Shore Step. Highland Acclaim was slightly worse than mid-division at the half way stage, he was about 13th or 14th of the 20 runners, but he was travelling well and he was on the right side, out in the centre just behind the main pace. He tracked Desert Law through and, when Daniel Tudhope asked him to pick up, he did so nicely. He finished well enough to overhaul Desert Law out in the centre, but he just couldn’t get past Caspian Prince, who had drifted towards the near side.

Even so, it was a fine run by the Acclamation gelding. He was the only horse who was really able to get into the race from the rear in a race in which and on a day on which it was difficult to make ground from the rear on the straight track. It was another step forward by Highland Acclaim after a really encouraging run at Newmarket 12 days previously. He was a talented handicapper last season, he won decent handicaps at Newmarket and Ascot last season and he rounded off the term by finishing second, beaten just a neck by an in-form Spinatrix, in a big six-furlong handicap on easy ground at York last October.

He had been completely out of sorts during the early part of this season. In his first five runs, he raced against a total of 96 horses, and he beat just 14 of them. His best run among those five was his run to finish 15th of 25 in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot. That changed at Newmarket in early August, however, when he travelled well and kept on well to finish third behind Steve Prescott over six furlongs. Wednesday’s run was another step forward.

He was racing off a mark of 95 on Wednesday, 8lb lower than his peak. The handicapper will probably give him a pound or two, but he can’t really be too harsh, he has to leave him still a fair way below his peak. He could be a well handicapped horse now, and all the big sprint handicaps are open to him. He could do better now stepped back up to six furlongs, and he goes well at Ascot, but he will be of interest wherever he goes next.

19th August 2015