ALGHAZAAL TO THRIVE OVER LONG DISTANCES
Kimberley was well beaten on debut at Chelmsford but showed far more on her second start at Kempton when finishing a promising fourth. Having broken well, she was gradually restrained to race in second last through the early stages and was still towards the back of a fairly tightly grouped field turning into the home straight.
Nudged along she made some headway on the inside but the front trio had got away from her with two furlongs to go. Put under stronger pressure with just over a furlong to go, she responded well and ran on very strongly in the final furlong to finish 2¾ lengths behind the winner, finishing 6½ lengths clear of the rest of the field.
It was encouraging to see such significant improvement from Kimberley and while this was only an average maiden, I think she is likely to be the best of them in the long term and can develop into a good handicapper between a mile and 1m2f.
Immortal Beloved showed inexperience on debut at Newmarket and improved from that at Haydock despite the race not being run to suit. In a slowly run race, she was a bit outpaced early in the home straight and for all that she was staying on while being pushed along she still had a few lengths to find on the leader a furlong out. Given a couple of reminders, she responded well and charged at the leader in the last half furlong but was denied by a head.
Given how she had dropped away under pressure on debut, it was encouraging that Immortal Beloved finished off the race so well and she looks set to be yet another of the dam’s progeny to be suited by 1m4f and further. I think she can show herself to be better than a rating of 74, either in a stronger run race over 1m4f or in staying handicaps.
Bavarian Girl failed to get past the first obstacle in a point to point and a maiden hurdle in late January but showed she had ability with a promising run in a bumper at Roscommon. Dropped right out at the back of the field, she had gained one place after a circuit and was only in tenth turning out of the back straight.
She started to make some headway on the side of the course and then made a big sweeping move on the outside which took her into a close second going through the wings of the second last hurdle. However, the effort of making such a big move started to take its toll soon after and she could make no further impression on Beret Rouge, coming home twelve lengths behind her in second.
On this evidence, Bavarian Girl should be capable of winning a bumper in the coming weeks and, given her physique, she looks a promising long term chasing prospect.
Alghazaal showed promise on debut when eighth behind Tiger Moth at Leopardstown and did likewise at Fairyhouse over what looked an inadequate test of stamina. He looked to be struggling a little with the pace at various stages during the first half of the race and then briefly got stuck in a pocket turning the final bend as the leaders started to quicken away. Switched outside, he ran on but could make no impression on the leading trio and finished fourth.
Alghazaal is a full brother to Nadaitak, who was a strong stayer on the flat and went on to win a Grade 2 novice hurdle over 3m, and from the evidence of his first two runs it seems that Alghazaal will follow him in being seen at his best over long distances on the flat.
Well Funded won three races last year and another one may not be far away after running well at Haydock on her second start of the year. Having raced handily in the main pack, she travelled smoothly into a narrow lead with about 2½ furlongs to go and responded well to pressure before fading inside the final furlong and finishing fourth.
Her three wins last year were over 1m6f and a drop back to that trip looks likely to suit along with a slightly softer surface.
Ventura Express showed some promise on his first two starts and he did so once again at Leicester. Restrained to race towards the back of the main group in the early stages before being nudged along to make progress just over two furlongs out. Pushed along more vigorously, he continued to make some headway but looked a little uncomfortable on the undulations in the final furlong and was held together to finish sixth.
Slow starts had been an issue for Ventura Express on his first two starts so it was encouraging that he had no issues on that front in this race. I think an opening mark of 65 underestimates his ability and he can soon take advantage of that.
London showed minor promise as a two-year-old and did so again on her first start this year at Newcastle. Having led until around halfway, she was headed by eventual wide margin winner, Tilsit, and soon left behind by that rival with two furlongs to go. However, unlike on her second start at Newmarket when she quickly dropped through the field, she kept going well enough to hold on to second until the closing stages.
London has been given a lowly opening rating of 54 and I think she could show herself to be a bit better than that, possibly when dropped back to seven furlongs.
Trying to make ground from the back of the field at Kilbeggan is often a difficult task and Millyinthemiddle caught the eye in trying to do so on her handicap debut. She was still in last place turning the bend towards 2 out and her task was made tougher when she was hampered by a faller. Still travelling well moving towards the final bend, she squeezed through a tight gap before being switched to the outside for a clear run on the final part of the bend. By that stage the front trio had gone clear and she was nudged out from that point to finish fifth.
This was a promising handicap debut from Millyinthemiddle and given a more suitable test I think she can show herself to be better than her rating of 95 in the near future