It's another Drone Strike
DRONE STRIKE has made it very hard not to like him in Saturday's St Leger, facing almost the same cast he beat a month ago in the Jamaica Derby at 12 furlongs.
The St Leger is, of course, a different race on paper, but has nothing new to offer by way of competition - 11 runners from the Derby and four who might not have even qualified for the race itself on earnings.
The new runners - UNCLE HONEY, AXLE ROD, TRICKSTER and INNOVATOR - are no part of the principals, hence the idea of tactics being revisited by some connections, is hard to take serious, considering the manner in which DRONE STRIKE won the Derby from two and a half furlongs out.
The derby was run exactly as expected with the surprise package, as track announcer Brian Rickman bellowed at the top of the lane, being DRONE STRIKE.
DRONE STRIKE's surprise was that he hadn't run in the two-turn Governor's Cup and the derby was only his second race in excess of seven furlongs, the first being a mile in the 2000 Guineas, a race with extremely fast splits, which, as proven in his previous events, would have been unsettling for his running style.
Nevertheless, DRONE STRIKE finished a respectable eighth in the Guineas behind COMMANDER TWO, beaten by only six lengths, two and a quarter behind MARQUESAS, who returned as the derby favourite. Therefore, with no Governor's Cup form to go on, DRONE STRIKE flew in under the derby radar and bombed the hell out of the field from as early as the half-mile when, in one swoop, he went by three horses - COMMANDER TWO, DRUMMER BOY and FAYROUZ - to go in chase of MARQUESAS, who he collared on the turn and ran away from up the lane.
Reviewing the derby tape, DRONE STRIKE was literally jumping out of jockey Aaron Chatrie's hands going past the clubhouse turn and down the backstretch but was kept in check by horses ahead of him and to his outside.
Unleashed at the half-mile, it was clear that he had the race won because Shane Ellis, having thought he had slipped the field from the five with MARQUESAS, could hardly believe that a horse was snapping at his heels leaving the three-pole.
The derby points of call is the tale of the tape, MARQUESAS two lengths clear at the half mile and two behind at the two-pole, cut down by a fresher and better stayer, DRONE STRIKE, whose sire, SORRENTINO, produced the likes of BIGDADDYKOOL.