Horses To Follow » Dark Devil

Dark Devil

Dark Devil put up a good performance in the circumstances to finish third in the Diamond Handicap over seven and a half furlongs at Chester on Thursday.

Slowly away from stall eight, he was dropped towards the rear of the field by Paul Hanagan through the early stages of the race. The early pace was strong, the nine runners got well stretched out, but it was still a race in which it was an advantage to race prominently, as it often is at Chester. The eventual winner Ian Fleming sat in a dispute of third place behind eventual runner-up Above N Beyond, who led from flagfall and went down by just a nose in the end. The first four had a nice break on the rest of the field from early, and it was difficult for the other five horses to bridge the gap.

Dark Devil was still last as they started around the home turn two and a half furlongs out. Angled towards the inside, Hanagan trusted to fortune that he would get the breaks, which was his only hope really of getting close. He couldn’t have gone all the way around the outside. He did get a nice run up the rail, he moved into fifth place by the time they straightened up. But the leaders ran on strongly, they just had too big of a break on him. He couldn’t get to them, but he still finished off his race well, closing to within two and a half lengths by the time they reached the winning line.

It was a good run from Richard Fahey’s horse on his seasonal debut. Second on his first two runs last season, he got off the mark on his third and final run last term, keeping on strongly to get home by a neck in a seven-furlong Redcar maiden. This was a decent three-year-old handicap, it was run in a good time, the second fastest time of the day after Cannock Chase’s Huxley Stakes, and Dark Devil can be marked up on the bare form of his run. The handicapper might raise him by 1lb or 2lb from his mark of 86, but he can’t raise him by too much, and he will be of interest in a similar contest now, on a more conventional track. His dam won over a mile three times, and he shaped here as if he would improve for a slight step up in trip.

5th May 2016