A busy weekend of flat action is behind us. Some exciting prospects were unleased at Newbury in particular. Non more so caught the eye than the return of Perfect Power.
No doubt: it was the performance of the weekend. It was impossible not to be impressed by Perfect Power’s Greenham Stakes victory. Perfect it was. Powerful too! He was a top-class juvenile, so it was even more pleasing to see him having trained on.
Perfect Power has inherited all the blistering speed of his lightning fast dad Ardad, but has the stamina to stretch out over 7 furlongs. He settled well on Saturday and finished strongly.
The run was worth a fine topspeed rating of 97. And he did that as easy as you like, I felt. Christophe Soumillon didn’t have to get too serious: two light flicks of the whip to keep Perfect Power focused in the final 200 yards.
With that in mind, this performance is probably close to equal to his strong Group 1 victories last year (101 and 105 TS respectively).
2000 Guineas – yes or no? I lean toward “no”. He simply shows so much speed. Can he conserve that for an additional furlong? Maybe. You have to run to find it out. It sounds like connections are leaning toward finding it out at Newmarket next month.
Perfect Power is as low as 8/1 for the Guineas. Though, he would have to ride without my money. Over six or seven furlongs, though, he’s gonna be a key player this season, I reckon.
A quick word on All-Weather Champions Day. It took place at Newcastle on Friday. The novelty has worn off, for sure. And Newcastle, albeit a nice and pretty fair track, is visually just not that exciting. The way the races develop is basically all the same.
It didn’t spark my interest this time. Nonetheless, it’s worth reviewing some of the performances. And none more so than the run of Tiber Flow in the 3 Year Old All-Weather Championships Conditions Stakes.
The William Haggas trained colt ran to a 103 topspeed rating without having the clearest of runs. The way he finished – visuals are backed up by incredibly strong sectionals, and the overall race time was faster than the Sprint Championships on the same card too – suggests a huge engine, which will have more to offer when he steps up in trip again.
Tiber Flow is still unexposed and lightly raced – this was only his fourth lifetime start. I am so excited to see what the son of Caravaggio can do next. He looks a Group 1 horse in the making.
I will write in more detail on that particular race and Tiber Flow in the next edition of Eye-Catchers.
4.11 Wolverhampton – Class 4 Handicap, 6f
A competitive field of eleven horses, but also one where not too many appear to be well handicapped at all. The one that is down to a rather sexy mark on past form is Chief Little Hawk, though.
He was a big eye-catcher for me at Southwell last time out. As mentioned then, the way he finished in the closing stages from the back of the field in a race dominated by the two pace setters wasn’t what you normally would see from a 40/1 shot.
He wasn’t even hard ridden in the final stages of the race, yet was the third fastest finisher from two furlongs out, according to sectionals – underlying the visual impression.
Since moving yards away from Aiden O’Brien over to Jamie Osborne Chief Little Hawk has rarely been fancied in the betting. He was long odds most of the time, and still managed to finish 4th, only 1.5 lengths beaten as a 50/1 outsider, in a class 2 Handicap at Newmarket of a mark of 94 last August.
He has fallen significantly in the ratings in the meantime. He is now down to an 82 OR and drops down to class 4. He showed some promise on the All-Weather this winter, without ever getting close. But this most recent run is the key sign for me to suggest he’s ripe to win.
Six furlongs looks the ideal trip I believe. Whether Wolverhampton is the ideal track remains to be seen. He can be awkward out of the gates, and I firmly believe you don’t want to be too far behind in a big field around this track.
Nonetheless, there is a bit of positivity in the betting market today, with money coming this morning. Highly capable Saffie Osborne takes the ride and claims valuable 3lb. That should help with defying top weight from a good draw in gate 4.
You can never expect a big run with these type of horses that have fallen from early heights. But I am rather hopeful for a big run because this lad is more likely than not well handicapped.