Connections of Ventura Storm have not ruled out going to the well once more this season following his excellent effort in defeat in Saturday’s St Leger at Doncaster.
The Richard Hannon-trained three-year-old made an excellent start to the campaign by winning the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket, but finished stone last in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown next time and was similarly well-beaten on his next two starts in France.
He got his career back on track with a Listed win at Hamilton, which he backed up with an impressive Group Three success at Deauville, and he hit the front in the final furlong of the season’s final Classic only to get caught in the dying strides by Laura Mongan’s Harbour Law.
Tim Palin, racing manager for owners Middleham Park Racing, said: ” It’s a case of close, but no cigar.
“If he’d got up for second on the line, it would have been a different story, but it (victory) was there and we’ve just been outstayed.
“That’s racing – it’s full of winners and runner-ups. Staying is the name of the game in the St Leger and fair play to the winner, who’s just seen it out a bit better than us.
“It’s a crying shame, but at the same time it’s been a pleasure to be part of this horse’s journey this season and while we’ve won a couple of Group Ones and had a champion two-year-old in Toormore, this has to go down as one of Middleham Park’s highlights.
“I think we can put his improvement down to him being stepped up in trip and the fact he’s been ridden more positively.
“It was great another small outfit won the race. I think it shows everyone has a chance and us two fighting out the finish is a real feather in the cap for racing.
“Our horse is absolutely fine this morning and is out having a pick of grass and is full of the joys of late summer.”
Asked about future plans, Palin added: ” That could be it for the season for him, but we’ll see how he is in a couple of weeks.
“I think if he’s bouncing, we would be tempted to give him one more run, while he’s in such good form.
“We had one or two races abroad that we had in our minds if he’d finished a nondescript sixth or something like that on Saturday.
“There’s a race in Germany at the end of the month, which might come a bit soon. There’s also a Group One in Italy next month and a Group One in Germany as well, so we’ll see.
“As far as next season goes, I wouldn’t rule anything out. He’s improving and strengthening up all the time.
“He could develop into a Cup horse, but he could even come back to a mile and a half, who knows?
“He’s clearly on the incline at the moment.”