Horses To Follow » Dutch Connection

Dutch Connection

Dutch Connection put up a good performance to finish a close second behind Toormore in the Group 2 Bet365 Mile at Sandown on Friday.   A little keen through the early stages of the race despite the fact that Barchan set a strong pace, Charlie Hills’ horse tracked Toormore into the home straight in third place.  Moved to the near side early in the home straight, he appeared to be travelling much better than Toormore as they passed the furlong pole.  He picked up too when Jim Crowley asked him to, he probably went about a neck up and looked the most likely winner.  However, Toormore battled back as they met the rising ground, Dutch Connection’s energy just ebbed inside the final 200 yards, but he still kept on well enough to retain second place, just a neck behind Toormore and a length and a half in front of Breton Rock and Belardo in third and fourth.

It is understandable that Dutch Connection weakened a little inside the final 200 yards. He was keen enough through the early stages, the ground was softer than ideal for him, he hunted up a fast pace and this was his seasonal debut. This was also Toormore’s seasonal debut, but Toormore goes well fresh, his record on his seasonal debut now reads 1121, whereas Dutch Connection’s reads 37.  The Cheveley Park horse should come on for this run. He should also be better back on better ground.  His three wins have all been achieved on good to firm ground.

This was a good race, Toormore is a high-class horse and was obviously well-primed for this, his seasonal debut, Belardo was a well-supported favourite who was racing on his favoured easy ground, and the winning time was good, the fastest comparative time of the day and bang on Racing Post par.

Dutch Connection was receiving 3lb from Toormore, but there is every chance that he can bridge the neck and 3lb gap if and when they meet next. Toormore won their other encounter too, in the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood last July, but he only won by three parts of a length, and the ground was on the easy side that day too. Also, Toormore is five, Dutch Connection is just four, he has plenty of scope to progress now this season.

They could meet again in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, that is the obvious next target for both, and Dutch Connection may be value against Richard Hannon’s horse if the ground comes up on the fast side.  Also, Charlie Hills’ horse will be of interest if and when he returns to Ascot, given that he put up one of the best performances of his career in winning the Jersey Stakes there last year on his only run to date at the track.  He could be a lively outsider in the Queen Anne Stakes.

22nd April 2016