Lingfield, Friday April 2nd
After paddock inspection I thought the winner Ranch Hand looked in rude health, and under a good ride from James Doyle, seemed to have his mount in the right place. As the pace quickened with 3f to go, he was able to position his horse on the back of the leaders and showed a good change of pace which took him to the lead. I see no problem with him going back on turf.
Rock Eagle looked slightly backward in his coat and I do not think the pedestrian pace helped his cause because he was being pushed along coming downhill, and by the time he got himself balanced he was unable to run down the winner.
The 6yo Lucky Deal looked very fit, but the way this race unfolded he was never going to be seen at his best. By the time he got into top gear the race was all but over.
The favourite Rainbow Dreamer made plenty of appeal paddock side, but I think his jockey got a rush of blood to the head because he made rapid headway going downhill and was unable to respond once challenged.
Amtiyazand Australisboth looked well.
Shimmering Dawn was the paddock pick and was very unlucky not to lift this prize because she was given the perfect ride by James Doyle to hit the front with a furlong to go only to be mowed down by a 25-1 shot.
Pholas, this big filly by Iffraaj looked 100% fit, but was slow to get into stride. She was out the back and swung wide coming into the home straight. Hollie Doyle conjured an amazing run which saw her prevail by a neck. This was a step up on her previous form. It will be interesting to see if she can show this sort of form on turf.
The medium-sized Arafilooked fit and this was the biggest performance of her career.
Fizzy Feet was attempting the trip for the first time and made all her opponents know that they had been in a race. She only wilted inside the final furlong.
Indie Angel looked fine paddock side, but I never felt she was a factor from the moment the stalls opened and she never looked happy at various stages of the race.
The 7yo Summerghand rolled back the years to put up his best performance of all time to take this Conditions Stakes. Held up in midfield he looked a little tap for toe off the final bend, but soon quickened up to lead right on the line.
The runner-up Exalted Angel looked full of himself in the paddock after his previous victory and when he turned for home he then quickened to lead, looking set for victory, but was caught only in the final stride.
Aberama Gold raced prominently throughout and was only overhauled inside the final furlong. He is clearly in great heart at present and he should put up a good show wherever he turns up next.
Harry’s Bar was the unlucky horse in the race because he didn’t help himself coming out of stall 12 and he proceeded to hang to his right throughout. As he negotiated the final bend he grabbed hold of the bridle and passed six rivals to finish a running-on sixth. He has form here when previously trained by James Fanshawe, so the track shouldn’t have been an issue.
Other horses that looked the part were Tone The Barone, Highland Dress and Lord Riddiford.
Diligent Harry, this colt by Due Diligence produced a breathtaking performance given that he only started racing on January 21st. Things did not go to plan because he was bumped at the start, but this strong travelling colt soon got his act together and moved with purpose coming off the final bend. He showed a turn of foot which brought him to the leader and then he pulled 2 lengths in front. I am sure this colt can make an impact in decent sprints this year and we know how his trainer is a dab hand with these types of horses.
The sizeable Mighty Gurkha shone in the paddock, but stall 7 just hindered him getting to the front. Once in control up front, he kicked for home and it took a decent winner to catch him. I see no reason why Archie Watson’s 3yo cannot do reasonably well this season.
Zamaani, who is not the biggest, looked full of the joys of spring and his jockey was content to follow the favourite. He didn’t handle the final turn so well, but to his credit he kept on and was only denied for second place.
The leggy Apollo One was not seen at his best because his jockey had him trapped with nowhere to go for the majority of the race. I would like to have seen what he is made of given the way he performed here on debut.
Victory Heights and Bravadoboth looked in good nick.
Yazaman looked fine, but I think he will struggle because he hasn’t really progressed from two to three.
This should have been a straightforward assignment for Bangkok, but boy did he have to work for it. Keen from the start, he never looked to get himself into a rhythm for the first part of the race and when asked for his final effort it took him ages to get himself going and only prevailed by a neck. What held this performance down was the second placed horse Palavecino who was returning from a 104-day break and was not fit.
Palavecinobelied his paddock appearance to make the winner pull out all the stops in getting his head in front. He showed last year that he was affective on turf and I see no reason why he cannot run to a similar level this season.
The medium-sized Forest Of Dean looked grand, but halfway through the race I never felt he was going to be a major player and once he lost his position two furlongs out he found himself behind and in the wrong place.
Khuzaam, this chestnut by Kitten’s Joy dominated the paddock and put up a breathtaking performance. A little keen once the stalls opened, this long-striding gelding got himself into a lovely rhythm and once he negotiated the final bend, bolted clear to win by an impressive 5 lengths.
Mums Tipple backed up his previous win by securing the runner-up spot. He looked a player coming down the hill, but all he saw after that was the winner galloping into the distance. Hopefully, Richard Hannon’s 4yo can recapture some of his previous form and with this showing I cannot see why not.
Bless Him looked in tip-top shape and was held up in last place. He was able to come through beaten horses to finish in third.
Documenting, Fox Duty Free - who was too keen - and Via Serendipity all looked in fantastic order.
Star performer of the meeting:
Khuzaam who looked a pattern performer the way he won this in impressive style. I think the Sandown Mile at the end of the month, which is a Group 3, looks a likely target. Can he do it on turf?.