August 17 – Beverley – Rare Jewel – 96

A fair barometer as to whether a two-year-old is above average or not is when their time figure compares favourably to the older horses and in this ones case, she very much falls into that category. Not only did she run an overall number similar to Soul Seeker, who captured the five-furlong handicap later on the card, her final three furlong split of 37.7 was 0.2 better than her more established counterpart. The way she travelled through the race before settling the argument with the minimum of fuss was also a likeable feature of her performance and on this evidence, she deserves a step back up in grade. Whether that will be against pattern company, only time will tell, but either way, she remains a filly to keep on side – especially over the minimum trip. The runner-up, Bint Alfella also deserves a mention as she was the only one to offer any resistance to the winner inside the final furlong. Granted normal improvement, she should easily capable of winning a similar maiden next time.

August 17 – Salisbury – Embesto/Mighty Ulysses – 101 

A race that hung in the balance throughout the final two furlongs and in the end, the judge could not separate the front pair, The former proved he was up to this sort of grade having chased home the smart Nostrum at Newmarket previously and he can continue to progress with more racing. The latter bounced back to form in the first time cheekpieces following a modest effort by his standards at Ascot previously and this performance gives him something to build on for the remainder of the season.

August 17 – Windsor – Spirit Dancer – 98

Richard Fahey’s gelding duly followed up his previous York success and in doing so, proved that he is more than capable of running well away from the Knavesmire. In what turned out to be strongly run affair, the six-year-old bided his time towards the rear of the field before being delivered with a potent challenge late on and he found enough for pressure to withstand the persistence of the well-backed Tiffany. As the numbers from this competitive contest suggest, the winner now deserves a shot of pattern company next time and if he were to go to York in a bid to achieve that feat, his chances would be greatly increased.

August 19 – Curragh – Vespertilio – 92

Sometimes the numbers just tell half the story and in the case of this race, the facts do not do the winner full justice. The form book points towards a mandatory length and a half victory by Willie McCreery’s filly but it was anything but that and time may tell we are dealing with a genuine Group 1 filly. The way she cruised into contention before breezing by her flagging rivals was a joy to behold and it came as no surprise to see her final three furlong splits complement her overall time figure. Runner-up to the smart Ylang Ylang at Leopardstown previously, a rematch with the Ballydoyle filly in the Moyglare looks highly likely and on this evidence, the daughter of Night Of Thunder can give her old rival plenty to think about.

August 19 – Newbury – Greek Order – 95

Again, another performance whereby the visual aspect of the display rather than the speed figure took precedence and similar to the theory behind Vespertilio, there is every chance Harry & Roger Charlton’s inmate is a good deal better than the bare result suggests. Although the overall time wasn’t at all bad, they didn’t go mad early and the fact that the son of Kingman wanted to go much faster than his jockey was willing to allow yet still won, is testimony to how much raw ability he has. Despite pulling hard, he still managed to find an explosive turn of foot at the business end – which was on par with the likes of Desperate Hero and Witch Hunter – and even the four and a half length winning margin doesn’t do him full justice. Although he clearly stays 1m2f well enough, he looks the type who would be equally effective over shorter, especially in a more strongly run affair, and a race such as the Cambridgeshire would seem the ideal contest for him before he runs himself out of handicap company. One to follow.

August 20 – Curragh – Layfayette – 98

Noel Meade’s gelding maintained his fine level of consistency with another victory at the Co Kildare track and in doing so, he posted another fast time figure. Previous C&D winner, Unless, made sure the gallop was a sound one from the start and that played into the strengths of the son of French Navy who stayed on strongly to gain the day late on. Put well in his place by Vauban last time out, it just puts into context how good the first two home were that day (highlighted in last weeks blog) and providing he manages to navigate a course whereby he doesn’t have to lock horns with the very best the Irish middle-distance scene has to offer, he can continue to pay his way.