Cruise-ing To Victory
Cruise – 3-year-old filly – Ollie Sangster – Ollie Sangster’s first runner as a trainer should really have been a winner. Cruise, who he had picked up from Richard Hannon, finished second in a Class 3 handicap at Kempton on Saturday, but had nowhere to go when looking for room over a furlong out. Once extricated, she flew home down the outside but found that Dora Penny had got first run and wasn’t for catching. This will go down as a missed opportunity, but this unexposed filly shouldn’t go up enough from a mark of 75 to prevent her running in much weaker races and she is still eligible for novice and maiden races too. She was weak in the market close to the off on Saturday in the manner of a horse that may improve for the run, and she should be winning soon.
Valadero – 2-year-old colt – Dominic Ffrench Davis – sent off favourite for the Brocklesby, Valadero could only manage second, but that doesn’t tell the full story. The son of Starspangledbanner made a big move through the hot part of the race that saw him hit the front and kick clear. Looking certain to win, he traded as low as 1/100 in running but found himself collared close home by the rallying winner Doddie’s Impact. Having made such a big effort with no toe into the race, it is perfectly understandable that an inexperienced juvenile would get tired on bad ground and a novice looks a formality before he goes onto better things.
Mrs Meader – 7-year-old mare – Julie Feilden – this strong-travelling mare finished 2022 with two wins and shaped on her seasonal return as though there are plenty more good days to be had with her still. Very weak in the market, she made a big move from the rear to just about lead inside the final two furlongs, only to eventually tire due to a lack of a recent run. This effort should have brought her on plenty and there are races to be won with her over the next few weeks when the ground is soft.
Able Awaal Has More To Come
Awaal – 4-year-old gelding – Simon & Ed Crisford – having just his fifth run, Awaal ran a smashing race in the Lincoln despite being run down late on. Attempting to make all, no easy feat in a 30-runner field, the Lope De Vega gelding ended up pressing an overly-fast pace. The fact that he was able to hang in there for so long off a mark of 102 and a weight of 9-7 is a huge testament to his ability. This lightly-raced sort has plenty of big days ahead of him in Group company, particularly when the mud is flying.
Baradar – 5-year-old gelding – George Boughey – one place behind Awaal was Baradar. He was suited by the way the race was run, but travelled best, made the best middle move – while on the bridle – and came to win the race, only to not really get home over a strongly-run mile in bad ground. He looks crying out for a drop back to 7f, over which he was successful on his final start of 2022, and George Boughey looks to have him right back to his best. Group 1 placed as a juvenile, he looks capable of winning off his current mark and progressing back into Patern company.
Cloudbreaker – 3-year-old filly – Charlie Fellowes – Cloudbreaker has built on a promising juvenile campaign with two excellent runs in 2023. It was significant that she was able to win at 2 as a horse who is bred to better with time, and her penultimate run was excellent when carrying a penalty in a hot novice contest. On soft ground on Sunday, she was no match for the winner but came there to hold every chance before getting a bit tired on the surface. Better ground should suit her and she impressed with her attitude at Doncaster; a mark of 83 looks very fair still.
Perseverants – 5-year-old gelding – Scott Dixon – despite the jockeys obsessively making a beeline for the stand’s side rail at Doncaster on Sunday, hardly anything that raced on it ran well, with only two horses in double figures making the frame on the straight course. Gustav Graves was switched more to the favoured middle, but Perseverants stuck hard to the fence. The manner in which he quickened up was impressive, and, although he was overwhelmed by the winner who raced closer to the favoured middle, he ran a blinder to finish second. He was mixing it in Group 3 company in 2021 and, while he isn’t up to that level now, a mark of 78 looks extremely workable.