Donn McClean's Horses to Follow: May 1st - 7th
Before we dive in, some basic rules for a horses to follow list is to keep them in a tracker and on your radar for the next three runs, bearing in mind ideal conditions across variables like venue, ground, opposition and price are satisfactory to you as a punter. This column should help you build up a list that proves profitable under those circumstances, provides timely reminders to reduce repeated form study and assist with your enjoyment of a season be it National Hunt or Flat racing in the UK and Ireland and sometimes beyond.
Master Of The Seas - Newmarket, 1st May
3yo Colt, Charlie Appleby
Master Of The Seas ran a big race to finish second in the 2000 Guineas in a race in which it was difficult to make ground from the rear. The winner Poetic Flare and the runner-up Lucky Vega were always close enough to the pace whereas, by contrast, Master Of The Seas raced in the rear early on. Almost last after they had gone a furlong, he made good ground on the far side from the four-furlong marker. He made significant progress from the three-furlong marker to the two-furlong marker, he got past Lucky Vega on the far side, and he at least drew level with Poetic Flare. It was a great tussle between the three of them up the hill to the line. All three colts enhanced their reputations significantly, and Master Of The Seas just lost out by the bob of a head to Poetic Flare, with Lucky Vega just a neck behind the pair of them in third, and a two-and-a-half-length break back to the fourth horse Naval Crown.
Master Of The Seas had to do a lot of running from the rear just to get up into a challenging position, and he was particularly impressive between the three-furlong pole and the two-furlong pole. According to Racing TV's sectional times, he covered this furlong in 10.9secs, 0.21secs faster than the second-fastest horse through this furlong. He was impressive in winning the Craven Stakes at Newmarket on his first run in Britain this season, and this was a nice step forward from that. It may be that the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot will suit him well, a race in which he can be settled in behind and delivered late at a track that suits that style of racing.
Global Storm - Newmarket, 2nd May
4yo Gelding, Charlie Appleby
Global Storm did well to get as close as he got in the Class 2 12-furlong handicap at Newmarket on Sunday. It was just a five-horse race, but he wasn't ideally positioned early in the race behind a sedate pace, fifth of the five runners, with Frankie Dettori dictating the pace on Grand Bazaar. He had to engineer a path for himself initially through horses and shipped a bit of a bump from Hyanna on his way through, but he was out in the clear with fully a furlong and a half to run.
He was trying to make his ground into a quickening pace, however, and it was understandable that it took him a while to start to close on the leader. Zabeel Champion, who had been much better positioned early on, up on the leader's shoulder, picked up too, between Global Storm and Grand Bazaar, and the three of them went to the line together. Zabeel Champion won the race but he only had a nose in hand over Global Storm, with the pair of them a short head in front of Grand Bazaar.
Global Storm was racing for the first time wince he was beaten in a handicap in Dubai in February. He did well last season at three, winning a 12-furlong handicap at Newmarket in June before going to Royal Ascot and finishing third behind Highland Chief in the Golden Gates Handicap, also over 10 furlongs. He stayed this 12-furlong trip well though, and he shaped as if he would do better off a stronger pace. He will be of interest in another 12-furlong handicap now. He could be a horse for the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap back at Royal Ascot in June.
A'Shaari - Newmarket, 2nd May
3yo Filly, Charlie Appleby
A'Shaari shaped like a filly who might appreciate a drop back down in trip in the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket on Sunday. Very keen through the early stages of the race, she didn't really drop the bridle until they got to the seven-furlong marker. She travelled well from there, and she moved up threateningly on the near side on the run to the two-furlong marker. She travelled like the most likely winner at that point, put she quickly came under pressure, and had no answer when Mystery Angel picked up towards the far side. She weakened from there, and eventually finished just fifth.
The Godolphin filly had looked good in winning a novice stakes on her racecourse debut at Newmarket last August over seven furlongs. This was her first run since, so it is legitimate to expect that she will progress from it. She is out of Hibaayeb, who won a Ribblesdale Stakes, but she is a half-sister to Wuheida, who won a Prix Marcel Boussac over a mile and a Dahlia Stakes over nine furlongs, and it looks like she will be happier dropping down in trip rather than stepping up. She is entered in the Oaks and in the Coronation Stakes, so it looks like connections weren't sure whether she would be going up in trip or down in trip, but she will be interesting now if she drops back down to a mile or nine furlongs. She obviously has lots of pace, and the faster pace that they go over a shorter trip should help her settle better.
Lady Bowthorpe - Newmarket, 2nd May
5yo Mare, William Jarvis
Lady Bowthorpe put up a game performance to win the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket on Sunday. Held up through the early stages of the race by Kieran Shoemark, she made nice progress among horses at the two-furlong marker. She had to check a little as Queen Power moved to her left in front of her. She had to deliver her challenge on the far side, away from Lavender's Blue, who was delivered on the near side, but she was strong and game and willing for Shoemark all the way to the line, getting home by a head and a neck from Queen Power and Lavender's Blue.
William Jarvis' mare was nicely progressive last season as a four-year-old. She was impressive in winning a Group 3 one-mile contest at Ascot at the end of July, and she wasn't beaten far in the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes on unsuitably soft ground on her final run of the season, when she had to deliver her challenge on the far side away from the stands rail. This was her first run since, it was her seasonal debut, and she looks as good as ever. She is five now, but it appears that she is still progressing, and the Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot looks like an obvious target for her now.
Wee Pablo - The Curragh, 3rd May
4yo Gelding, Patrick Martin
Wee Pablo did well to finish third in the seven-furlong apprentices’ handicap at The Curragh on Monday. Fast away from stall nine, he moved over towards the far rail and led the 23-runner field at a decent pace. He travelled well in front, and he picked up when Dylan Browne-McMonagle asked him to at the two-furlong marker. Even when he was joined by Ottawa Fire, he kept going tenaciously until Pretty Rebel came from miles back after missing the start and ran the pair of them down close home.
It was a good run in defeat by Pat Martin’s horse though, given that he raced prominently and towards the far side in a race in which the first two home raced towards the near side from stalls 22 and 15 respectively, with the winner Pretty Rebel missing the start completely but still getting up to win. The previous three renewals of this race had been won by horses who raced, respectively, from stalls 17, 15 and 17.
This was just Wee Pablo's sixth race, and just his second on turf. On his first run on turf, at Leopardstown two-and-a-half weeks earlier, he had made all the running to land a seven-furlong handicap off a mark of 57, in a race from which the second and third came out and finished second and third again in another handicap at Gowran Park. Raised by 9lb for that win, Wee Pablo proved here that he was well up to his new mark of 66. He remains progressive and he will be of interest wherever he goes next.
Holly Golightly - Gowran Park, 4th May
3yo Filly, Ger Lyons
Holly Golightly put up a nice performance to win the one-mile fillies' maiden at Gowran Park on Tuesday. Ger Lyons' filly was smartly away and she was fast through the first couple of hundred yards, with the result that it appeared that she was able to get to the front quite easily. Gary Carroll just allowed her settle into a nice racing rhythm in front, and she led out of the back straight and into the home straight. She remained towards the inside when they straightened up for home as her two main challengers, Friendly and New York Angel, came towards the stands side. Holly Golightly gradually made her way over towards the near side too, but she kept going forward, and she stayed on strongly to get home from her two challengers, with a nice gap between the first three home and the rest of the field.
There was a lot to like about this performance from Trevor Stewart's filly. She got to the front quite easily, she travelled well through her race and she kept on well, out towards the centre of the track, on a day on which a lot of the main players came up the stands side. The form looks solid too, with three nice fillies in Friendly, New York Angel and her better-fancied stable companion Spilt Passion chasing her home, and a nice gap between the first four home and the rest of the field.
This was just her third run ever and her second run of the season. She ran well on her seasonal debut to finish third behind Baton Rouge in a one-mile maiden at Dundalk five weeks earlier, and this was a nice step forward from that. She is a really well-bred filly, home-bred by Gleneagles out of King's Stand Stakes winner Cassandra Go, and a half-sister to Halfway To Heaven, winner of the Irish Guineas, the Nassau Stakes and the Sun Chariot Stakes, and Magical's dam. She will be of interest wherever she goes next.
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