Postponed beat Highland Reel in this and in The International at York last year, the latter at 10f.
At York when they broke from the gate Postponed’s pacemaker King Bolete took it on with Sheamie Heffernan content to settle in behind on Highland Reel. Andrea Atzeni on Postponed tracked Highland Reel. As the pacemaker fell away 4F out Andrea immediately kicked. He received an instant response from his mount. At the 3F pole he cruised past Highland Reel in a matter of strides and looked to a have the race won. Highland Reel having got caught for toe initially began to pick up and battle. Postponed drifted towards the stands rail under maximum effort and managed to hold off the Irish colt. Immediately the suspicion was over a longer trip there would be a reversal.
In Paris in the Arc in October they met again.
Both were drawn wide and needed to break well in order to establish position. After 2F they had shuffled across to sit in behind the leader’s racing side by side for much of the race. As they turned for home Andrea asked Postponed to extend. He did picking up as instantly as he did at York with Highland Reel once again caught for toe. Then the stamina requirement of those extra two furlongs began to ask questions. Postponed dash was over while Highland Reel was finding his stride. He galloped to the line only to be denied by the turn of foot of his stablemate Found who had burst through on Postponed’s inside to fly to the line.
Maybe it was the excretions at York that emptied Postponed.
Highland Reel who’ll reunite with Ryan Moore went on to the Breeders Cup where extraordinarily he was given a soft lead by the American jockeys. They mustn’t have watched him win the King George in the summer under Ryan. This time it was Seamie who thought them a lesson. He wound him up in his own time and not even Found’s pace could reel him in. He then took in Hong Kong in December where he looked to have the race won only to tire in last 100 yards and be collared by Santono Crown who has since followed up in the Kyoto Kinen at home in Japan in February.
Maybe it was the end of a long season.
Postponed has followed a similar route to last year prepping for this on super Saturday in the Dubai City Of Gold. Last year he won easily, this year he was beaten. When they broke from the gate Andrea Atzeni found himself trapped wide. He didn’t want to be there so he angled his way in onto the rail. As they raced around the bend into the straight he brought Postponed off the rail. A gap appeared briefly for Postponed to get upsides of one of the Godolphin runners Emotionless on the outside. He was in turn being tracked by another Godolphin runner Prize Money ridden by Adrie de Vires. Adrie pressed Prize Money to close the door and the gap was gone. Postponed angled back inside Emotionless and got a run up the rail. He ran on and got passed Emotionless but it was too late Prize Money on the outside was in full flight and won it a half a length.
Maybe Roger Varian had left something to work on.
Jack Hobbs put in one hell of a run in the Champion Stakes last October. He’d been virtually off the track for a year as in his only other start in April he had been pulled up. At Ascot he came from the tale of the field travelling wide putting in his best work at the finish to close to third behind Almanzor and Found. Word is he put in a spectacular piece of work at Chelmsfort before travelling to Dubai. These extra two furlongs will help his cause.
Seventh Heaven the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks winner must prove herself again. After disappointing in the English equivalent at Ascot in October she was a tad unlucky when not getting the best of runs in the Fillies and Mares Turf at the Breeders Cup.
Sounds Of Earth will have to find something having finished in the bunch in the Arima Kinen on Christmas Day. Before that he ran second in the Japan Cup while Prize Money who won the November Handicap has continued to improve through the spring at Meyden winning a handicap before the City Of Gold.
It might be that Roger Varian didn’t want Postponed as forward as he had him last year, that he’s left more to work on in the intervening three weeks or it might be that run at York last August left too deep a scar. If it’s the latter then Highland Reel will expose the wound.
Recommendation: Highland Reel 4/1 win
Tricast : Highland Reel, Jack Hobbs & Seventh Heaven