MORE TO COME FROM SLOW-STARTING SHIZAAM
Scherzando has already run over a wide range of distances in his brief career so far, having made his debut over 1m1½f at Gowran, before stepping up to 1m4f at Limerick, and then dropping back to 6f for his third and latest start at Naas. After a slight bump at the start, he raced handily and travelled well just behind the leaders until coming under pressure two furlongs out. He responded well to maintain his prominent position, while lacking the necessary speed to make any significant challenge and came home in fifth, beaten 4½ lengths. This trip looked on the sharp side for Scherzando, and now that he has received a rating of 68, I expect he will be stepped back up in trip to a more suitable distance where he can show himself to be better than that mark.
4th Anders Foundation British EBF Crocker Bulteel Maiden Stakes, Saturday 25th July, Ascot
Albasheer was the Owen Burrows trained two-year-old who understandably gained all of the attention on Saturday after an impressive debut at Doncaster, but he also introduced Minzaal at Ascot and he showed plenty of promise in defeat. Last into stride, he was briefly shaken up and then raced keenly at the back of the field through the early stages, as he was manoeuvred from one side of the group to the other to get some cover. He travelled well towards the far side of the field and was the only one still on the bridle with 1½ furlongs to go, but couldn’t get a clear run until late inside the final furlong. Once getting that clear path he ran on strongly, while showing his inexperience by edging left, eventually beaten 1¾ lengths into fourth. This was a promising debut from Minzaal, who may have won with a clear run, and I expect him to be the best of this field in the future.
Shizaam was very green on debut at Limerick and took a big step forward from that at Gowran when finishing fourth. Once again she gave away plenty of ground at the start and was pushed along from a wide draw to latch on to the back of the pack as they turned out of the back straight. She was still at the back of the field turning into the straight and had to wait for a gap to open between rivals to get a clear run. Once in the clear she found plenty for pressure and ran on strongly to finish fourth, beaten 4½ lengths. Considering the quality of the front three, this was a very good performance from Shizaam to be able to finish so close after giving away so much ground at the start. Hopefully, as she matures mentally, the slow starting will become a thing of the past and her true ability can be reflected in the results.
Half of the field in this maiden were newcomers and it was one of those who showed plenty of promise in defeat. Dinoo was slowly into stride and briefly had to be pushed along before then racing a bit keenly on the far side rail towards the back of the field. Angled off the rail with just over three furlongs to go, he started to make smooth headway but found the intended path towards the rail blocked. Switched further right and pushed along two furlongs out, Dinoo appeared to be challenging for a place at best, but he really picked up well under pressure inside the last half furlong to only be beaten a neck into second by Dhahabi, galloping out well after the line. With the third and fourth having shown a good level of ability on their debuts, this was a promising start to Dinoo’s career and he shouldn’t be long in getting off the mark.
A couple of newcomers shaped promisingly in the two-year-old novice race at Windsor on an evening where jockeys didn’t quite seem sure where the best ground was in the straight. The first of those newcomers was Ask The Wind who ran well over what was expected to be, and duly proved to be, an inadequate test of stamina. A bit slowly away, she was pushed along and switched towards the outside in the early stages while racing at the back of the main group. In ninth place at halfway, she gradually stayed on under pressure in the final three furlongs while racing nearest the far rail to come home in fourth. Ask The Wind will certainly benefit from a step up in trip and I think she will be seen at her best over middle distances next season.
Dark Illusion was the other newcomer to catch the eye having travelled well for a long way on his debut. He tracked the leaders through the first half of the race and was asked to challenge, while racing towards the middle of the track with two furlongs to go. He couldn’t put in a significant challenge and started to tire and wander left during the final furlong, finishing seventh, beaten 4¾ lengths. His half-sister, Graceful Magic, has been at her best on quicker ground and I think that’s likely to be the case with Dark Illusion, so more can be expected from him next time if kept away from a soft surface.
Bad luck stories are an expected part of racing at Galway, and Fridtjof Nansen had an awful trip on the opening day of the Festival. Drawn in stall 10, he was initially in a leading line of five but was taken back into midfield and raced three wide on the first bend. Travelling smoothly into the dip, he then became trapped as eventual winner Eastern Racer moved outside of him and was very badly squeezed up on the bend as he completely ran out of room. Having dropped back into last, that was seemingly his race run, but having been switched wide and nudged along he ran on strongly to finish fifth, a position that seemed very unlikely after that incident. Fridtjof Nansen’s career record of 1 win from 28 starts is hardly endearing, but on the evidence of this latest run I think he has a chance of adding to that win tally in the near future.