Need for Speed

Need For Speed Sprint at Kenilworth on Monday

Delago Deluxe - blinkered

Need For Speed Sprint over 1000m at Kenilworth on Monday

Yes it’s 2012 and the second season of the “Need For Speed” Sprint Series sponsored by the Var Syndicate, sees five runners dash for the finish over 1000m at Kenilworth on Monday, writes Matthew Lips.

Last season’s champion two-year-old male Delago Deluxe tries blinkers for the first time and will only need to have retained most of his ability to have an excellent winning chance in the Need For Speed Sprint .  Only four others will oppose the son of Encosta De Lago in this conditions event for three-year-olds and Delago Deluxe looks to have quite a lot in hand at the weights even if his current 108 merit rating may flatter him.

Last season’s winner of the Gr1 Gold Medallion and Gr2 SA Nursery has yet to score from three starts this term, but he is taking a real drop in class after posing no threats when finishing 8.65 lengths seventh behind What A Winter in the recent Gr 2 Diadem Stakes over 1200m.  Delago Deluxe was not disgraced when always thereabouts before finishing third behind Shades Of Indigo in the Gr2 Merchants (handicap) over 1200m in November, where he was probably forced to race in the less favourable going towards the inside.  This may not be quite what was hoped for after Delago Deluxe’s terrific juvenile campaign, where he was unbeaten from four starts, but one would have to seriously worry about his future prospects if he can’t win this.

Royal Tribe

Nothing can ever be taken for granted in racing, though, and Royal Tribe could be the one to pick up the pieces should Delago Deluxe fluff his lines.  The son of Lecture showed early toe before fading to finish 1.5 lengths further behind Delago Deluxe in the Diadem, , but he was making his local debut and now faces his rival on 4 kgs better terms.  It is a possible worry that Royal Tribe was reported to be striding short when he ran well below his best in yielding going at Scottsville two starts ago, but he had some attractive sprint form before that and he looks capable of a decent effort here.

Power Dive

Power Dive faces stronger than when he drew off easily and beat Spots Coach (who looks like a pale shadow of his former self at present) by 2.5 lengths in a graduation plate over the course-and-distance recently.  Significantly perhaps, his two career wins have both come on soft or heavy going and it seems unlikely that he will encounter such conditions here.  He may still be improving, and any unseasonal rain would be a boost, but even then he probably would be up against it unless he makes considerable further improvement on his exposed form.
Lightly raced Lake Geneva could enjoy coming back down in distance after making little impact over 1400m in soft going first time out of the maidens.  He was blinkered for the first time when he raced handy and ran on to beat subsequent winner Albarakah by 1.5 lengths over 1200m in November and is still relatively unexposed, but he does need to find plenty on his exposed form if he is to pose a serious threat here.

Offertory is very quick and showed plenty of pace when he beat Tigers Eye by 1.5 lengths in an ordinary course-and-distance handicap eleven days ago.  This is a much stronger race, though, and he looks held safe by Power Dive on their meeting behind Virtuoso over the course-and-distance in late November.

About the pace

There should be no shortage of pace, despite the small field.  Offertory and Royal Tribe show plenty of toe, and the newly blinkered Delago Deluxe (who has won with frontrunning tactics several times) could run them all off their feet.  It should be a true run contest, with Delago Deluxe selected to get back on the winning trail.  Royal Tribe looks like the nearest thing to a threat and is chosen to finish second ahead of Power Dive and Lake Geneva.

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