REAL APPEALS AS ONE TO STRIKE SOON
The St Leger Festival kicked off with a slowly run two-year-old maiden over a mile, and Stay Well shaped with plenty of promise on his debut. Dropped in at the back of the field, he showed signs of greenness throughout the first half of the race, and was still in last with three furlongs to run. Pushed along, he quickly made headway once switched for a clear run despite drifting left. He wandered around under stronger pressure late on, but kept on well to finish 1½ lengths behind the winner in second. The winner, Latest Generation, had finished third on debut in a strong maiden at Sandown, so this was a very good run on debut from Stay Well, particularly considering he was poorly positioned given the pace, while showing inexperience at various stages. I expect him to develop into a very good horse over middle distances next season.
Wise Words returned to action at Doncaster after 365 days off the track and ran much better than the market expected. Held up early on, she was briefly nudged along three furlongs out as the pace started to lift. Still travelling well behind the leaders with two furlongs to go, her path was blocked on a couple of occasions, meaning David Allan had to switch her towards the near side. This left her in a share of last with a furlong to run, and she ran on strongly once getting a clear run to finish in a dead-heat for fourth. With better luck it may have been a victorious reappearance for Wise Words and this was an encouraging performance. On this evidence, she looks to have improved from three to four and over a strongly run five furlongs there’s more to come from her.
Much of the focus after this race was on the performance of Ghalyoon, but there was another horse who was negatively impacted by the slow pace. Edgewood raced keenly under restraint towards the back of the field throughout the first half of the race, before being pushed along with two furlongs to go. He gradually stayed on but couldn’t put in a significant challenge and finished fifth.
The slow pace was completely against Edgewood and his performance can be upgraded. He can continue his improvement back in a stronger run race over six furlongs, particularly on a stiff track.
John Leeper was another horse on Friday’s card at Doncaster to be inconvenienced by a slow pace, this time on debut in the closing maiden. Held up towards the back of the field, he was pushed along and briefly outpaced just over two furlongs out. He started to pick up with just over a furlong to go, but was hampered by the fading Golden Cluster and had to be switched. He ran on well late on under hands and heels into fourth without ever looking like challenging the leading trio. The slow pace was clearly unsuitable for John Leeper and he ran well considering this. I expect him to improve plenty next year over middle-distances.
A Listed winner as a two-year-old, Real Appeal showed promise on his first start for a new yard at the Curragh, and built on that with a good run at Leopardstown. From the widest stall, he was soon grabbed a prominent position in a well-run race, and was then trapped three wide on the bend. Pushed along entering the straight, he quickly joined the leading pair and went past them to gain just over a two-length lead entering the final furlong. He responded well to stronger pressure, but couldn’t hold off the late challenges of Could Be King and Lord Rapscallion, and came home in third.
This was a fine effort from Real Appeal considering the draw and pace, and he looks capable of gaining his first win since that Listed victory off his mark of 92 in the near future.
The far side group dominated the sprint handicap that opened Sunday’s card at the Curragh. The horse to do best of those that didn’t race in that group was Verhoyen, who bounced back having had a largely disappointing season. Always in a prominent position in the middle of the track, he battled on gamely under pressure in the closing stages to finish fifth, beaten 3½ lengths.
His rating has gradually dropped this year from 93 to 85 as a result of some poor performances, so this was far more encouraging, and he could pick up a handicap off this mark before the end of the year.
Thunder Beauty came into the Moyglare on the back of a debut maiden win in July and her lack of inexperience was evident in the race. Dropped out in last place from the widest stall, she was still there with just over two furlongs to go. She responded well to pressure, despite shifting left and right, before running on into fifth without ever putting in a significant challenge. I’m not sure that Thunder Beauty was suited by the change in tactics, while the race wasn’t run to suit those held up. Given that, this was a very good run from her on only her second start despite still being green, so there’s clearly more to come from her.
Having been well beaten on debut at the Curragh last month, True Artist was sent off at a huge price in this sales race and ran much better than the market predicted. Racing in the far side group, he showed greenness through the first half of the race. Pushed along with two furlongs to go he gradually stayed on, despite being slightly hampered, to finish sixth. This was a big step forward from True Artist following his debut. He’s likely to want distances around 1m2f next season, so it’s encouraging he’s showing this ability over six furlongs despite being green, and there could be plenty of improvement to come.