It was a very strange and exciting feeling being back on a racecourse after such a long absence. I had to adjust my eyesight when looking at a thoroughbred in terms of conformation and fitness after not seeing a horse for over three months!
With over 20 years experience, I am looking forward to giving attheraces.com readers an informative weekly blog with an insight of how horses looked and performed on the racetrack. Last weekend I was at Sandown for their prestigious Coral-Eclipse raceday.
Gussy Mac, a round barreled colt by Dark Angel looked fine and well for his third start. He was not the quickest out of the stalls and found himself behind a wall of horses, but I was impressed by the turn of foot he showed which eventually brought him through to victory. It looks as if Roger Teal’s juvenile can win another decent race.
Significantly, this stocky colt by Garswood looked in good shape and he travelled comfortably from the start. He looked all over the winner when he was nabbed right on the line. Given the way he has performed in his two previous races I think headgear may be needed.
The 40-1 outsider Internationaldream looked the part and moved well behind the leaders. He couldn’t find the required turn of foot needed to challenge, but I see no reason why a return to 6f would not be to his benefit considering he won over that distance last time out.
Tanfantic is a once-raced gelding who looked in good nick and in finishing in fourth suggested a step in the right direction.
The favourite Risk Of Thunder looked fit and well, but this leggy two-year-old lacks scope.
Liberty Beach looked in great shape considering she only ran 19 days ago and I think if she had not raced so keenly in the first two furlongs she would have come out on top. John Quinn’s three-year-old has plenty more to offer and I see no reason why she cannot have a productive season.
The winner A'Ali looked fit and well and bounced back to his best dropping down to the minimum trip. Placed in mid-field he showed a good turn of foot that swept him past the field and eventually brought him to victory. I suspect the King George Stakes at Goodwood will be next on his agenda.
Tinto looked in great shape and was helped by the way the race unfolded because he was able to pick up the pieces inside the final furlong.
Lazuli looked the part, but he could never get competitive inside the final 2f.
Dakota Gold who looked fit ran respectably given that he chased a fierce pace from the off.
A small and selective field lined up for this race which saw the Andrew Balding-trained Dashing Willoughby come out on top. This last time out winner looked the pick of the field and even though he was headstrong in the early part of the race he had enough left to hold on to victory. I suspect he will return to the Goodwood Cup where he finished fifth last year.
Spanish Mission looked in need of the run and I thought he came out of this contest with a lot of credit. His yard has been a little short on winners of late, but it looks as they are about to turn a corner.
Cross Counter who was last seen running third in the Ascot Gold Cup turned up here looking a little warm and agitated and the way he performed suggested he hasn’t recovered from his exertions last month.
Montatham, looking at this grey gelding I thought he looked terrific and with a 3lb turnaround with the second from the Royal Hunt Cup he was able to come out on top by a narrow margin. He will have to find more improvement after the handicapper has had his say.
Dark Vision, this grand looking four-year-old was slightly undone by the way this race unfolded. In a steadily run heat he found himself at the back and he did remarkably well to finish where he did.
Gallipoli, who looked fine beforehand, stepped up to run an honourable third.
Via Serendipity who has a good record over this course and distance looked in great shape, but failed to muster a challenge and he comes from a yard that is out of form at present.
An excellent field lined up for this Group 1 event.
Ghaiyyath, a grand looking five-year-old, turned up here looking in fantastic condition because I was slightly concerned about the quick turnaround after his win in the Coronation Cup a month earlier. However, he put up a quality performance from the front and proved his versatility regarding the ground. It looks as if he is going to be lined up for a crack at the Juddmonte International Stakes at York which should suit his style of running.
The super mare Enable looked well in her coat, but was slightly off peak in terms of fitness. Travelling comfortably in mid-field she could not find the required turn of foot needed to challenge the winner inside the final furlong. I thought this was a satisfactory return and 1m 4f should see her return to her brilliant best.
Japan, a colt by Galileo, looked terrific and stepped forward from his seasonal debut run 18 days ago to show he still retains his ability to be a contender at Group 1 level. An extra two furlongs would definitely be to his advantage.
Magic Wand looked in great shape, but was left behind by three classier rivals.
Magny Cours is a good looking five-year-old who produced a taking performance. In a steadily run contest he showed a good determined attitude to respond when passed to rally and get his head back in front.
Aspetar is not the biggest, but looked in prime shape and on ground faster than ideal ran a tremendous race. He came with a well-timed run, hit the front and was just collared on the line.
Fox Chairman, this Kingman colt appreciated the step back to 10f and I thought this was an effort that suggested he is back on the right path.
Dubai Warrior, who is a magnificent looking colt, had the run of the race from the front, but he doesn’t seem to have what is needed to operate on turf.
Eshaasy, a gelding by Oasis Dream, looked in tip top form and produced a gutsy effort. He was in the firing line from two out and responded all the way to the line.
Campari, an unexposed three-year-old stepped forward from his victory at Chepstow to run a cracker in second. When initially asked for his effort he wandered to his left and once straightened he stayed on in determined style only to miss out by a nostril. I think the experience would have done him good and I see no reason why he cannot step up on this performance.
The compact Shared Belief led the field at a steady pace and to his credit he responded when passed.
Star In The Making was probably not helped by the way the race unfolded and a stronger run heat would have been to her advantage.
Performance of the Day
This goes to Enable. I thought this multiple Group 1 winner made a highly satisfactory comeback over a trip short of her best. I see no reason why she cannot maintain her top-class form and she will take all the beating in the King George come the end of the month.
Horse to follow
Magny Cours. For a five-year-old this fella has very little mileage and at Sandown he proved that he can act on a quicker surface. In a strongly run heat I think he would have been a dominant winner and I am sure there are bigger days ahead.