Following flashing light horses who make ground in fast-run races, is usually overrated and under-rewarding, but there was something different about Care Free Prince on Monday that puts him in our black book.
The Manfred Man Ka-leung-trained three-year-old was unsuited in a slowly run 1,400m debut in February and outsprinted. That’s why he was 132-1 in Right Call’s race, but don’t expect that price from now on, especially when he steps up in distance.
The reality of fast-run races is that many horses running on at the finish are flattered, making ground because horses closer to the flame get tired in the final 200m.
When Jack Wong Ho-nam took Prompt Express out to a big mid-race lead at Sha Tin, he was setting up a scenario to make a lot of horses look good when they weren’t doing anything special.
If we look through the margins they made up from the 400m to the post, Right Call was three lengths off chasing the leader and finished as the leader, so he made three lengths. He still gets a tick because he had to use up carrots to be up there and so was tiring, too, but the other finishers give us a guide to “normal”.
Sitting further back and keeping more energy, Dynamic Voyage (second) made six lengths, as did Triumphant Light (third), Socket King (fourth), Glacier Blue (sixth) and Fancy Music (ninth) and even Energetic Class (seventh) made four and a half lengths despite spending energy racing wide. So horses which didn’t make up six lengths after a clean run probably underperformed.
That’s why Care Free Prince’s fifth was significant, taking nine lengths off the lead, or three lengths better than the average finish.
Bred by the late Bart Cummings, from a family the great trainer owned for generations after getting Group Ones with it in the 1960s, and being a half brother to a 1,000m Listed winner in Perth, a better recommendation for Care Free Prince is that he is by Street Cry.
That should mean that he is a stayer in the making, better as his distances get stretched and, on this form alone, capable of taking himself successfully to Class Three.