Horses To Follow » Clever Cookie

Clever Cookie

Clever Cookie did well to finish second behind Flying Officer in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Saturday. Settled out the back of the field by Graham Lee from his wide draw through the early stages of the race behind a relatively sedate pace, he was wider than ideal from early. He tried to make ground around the outside down at Swinley Bottom, but the horses on his inside just picked up at the same time, with the result that he hardly improved his position at all but still expended some energy. Still towards the rear of the field as they levelled up for home, he was hampered a little as he tried to make ground among horses at the two-furlong pole, with the result that his rider had to check him and move him wide. When he did, he picked up well and stayed on best of all down the outside to take second place, just a length behind Flying Officer.

It is true that Flying Officer used up his energy to go clear, to set up a race-winning advantage, and that it never really looked like Clever Cookie would catch him. However, the winner was able to sit close to the sedate pace, he had a lovely position from early, on the inside and just behind the leaders, and he got a perfect split as they rounded the home turn. By contrast, the runner-up was further back than ideal and wider than ideal throughout. There were other hard-luck stories in behind – Forgotten Rules in particular was fairly badly hampered in the home straight – but Clever Cookie was the horse who was finishing best of all. If he had been able to sit closer to the pace, he would surely have run the winner even closer.

Peter Niven’s horse is a highly talented individual on easy ground. He gets this two miles well, but he has the pace for a mile and six furlongs on easy ground. And remember, he was sent off the 4/1 third favourite for the King George this year after the rains had come. He will always be of interest over a mile and six furlong or further on easy ground, and he is proven at York and proven at Ascot. All tracks seem to come alike to him.

17th October 2015