Horses To Follow » *Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke was impressive in winning the 1m 4f handicap. Settled in midfield through the early stages of the race, he was a little trapped on heels behind the sedate early pace as they raced away from the stands with a circuit to go, with the result that he was disputing second last position as they left the back straight with 5f to run. That really wasn’t the ideal place to be, given that the race appeared to have been relatively steadily run after an initial burst. He travelled well around the home turn, however and, moved towards the outside by Harry Bentley, he picked up impressively. He was four wide around the home turn, but it didn’t matter, he had so much in hand. He quickly kicked into a 2l lead, and he stayed on strongly up the home straight to win by 4l from Lariat.

This was a really nice performance from Ralph Beckett’s horse. He didn’t really have the run of the race, yet he won with plenty in hand in the end from a progressive and race-fit rival. This was his seasonal debut, and it was just his fourth run ever, and it was his first attempt at middle distances. His three runs last year, including his win in a novice auction stakes at York on his final run of the season, were all over 1m, but he is a son of Derby winner Pour Moi, and he is a three-parts brother to Diocletian, a winner over 14f, out of a Peintre Celebre mare. He is all about middle distances.

He will go up in the handicap for this of course, but he was winning off a mark of 85 here, and he has the potential to progress a fair way beyond that. He only made his racecourse debut in September last year, and this was his seasonal debut, just his fourth run ever, and his first run since he was gelded. This race was won by subsequent Irish St Leger and Goodwood Gold Cup winner Brown Panther in 2011, and it was won by Red Verdon in 2016 and by Austrian School last year, both now 108 to 110-rated horses. Sam Cooke is a progressive middle-distance three-year-old, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next. His trainer mentioned King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot afterwards, and that is an obvious potential target.

Chester, 9th May 2019