6:35 – Salisbury – WEATHERBYS BLOODSTOCK INSURANCE STONEHENGE STAKES (LISTED RACE)(CLASS 1) (2yo) Soft 1m
Havana Gold was massively unlucky not to win his third race from three career starts when he was leading with just 100 yards to go in a Listed race Deauville 19 days ago. After switching to the outside 1 ½ furlongs from the finish, he quickened nicely to lead a furlong out only for his saddle to slip giving Ryan Moore no chance of staying onboard. He had the race won and connections will be looking for Listed class compensation this evening at Salisbury.
His two previous runs marked him down as a useful performer. He made his debut at Newmarket in June and shocked his connections by beating his much more fancied stable mate Pearl Acclaim into 2nd place. Havana Gold was ridden patiently by Ryan Moore and when a gap appeared over 1 furlong out he was ridden and quickened well just needing to be ridden out to win by 1 ½ lengths. The form of the race is strong with four separate winners coming out of it.
His second start came at Ascot when he ran in a Class 4 Novice Stakes and was ridden by Richard Hughes. His finish was a carbon copy of his Newmarket win as he went to the front just inside the final furlong and stayed on well, winning by 1 ¾ lengths. Two of the three horses behind him have come out and won since, most notably the runner up, Discernable who has won a Listed race in Deauville since.
The going at Salisbury is Soft and although Havana Gold has not run in Soft ground before he has won both of his starts on Good to Soft ground and the style of his wins would suggest that he will act well enough on the soft ground. His dam certainly acted in the conditions, winning twice in Heavy ground and once in Soft ground including two Group 3 races.
He also steps up to a mile for the first time this evening but as he saw out his race over 7 furlongs so well at Ascot the extra furlong looks well within his grasp. He is ridden by Richard Hughes again this evening who has an above average strike rate of 22% at Salisbury and has ridden 29 winners this month including 8 in the last week.
Havana Gold was clearly very unlucky in his last start and was in the process of confirming that he can win at Listed level. He will not have it all her own way as in a field of only five runners the race could turn out to be a trappy, tactical affair. However, he has shown that he has the gears to accelerate quickly towards the end of the race and assuming he sees out the trip in soft ground could be hard to beat.