Horses To Follow » Managua


Managua put in another good performance when finishing third in a 12-furlong handicap at Goodwood last week. Alan Munro held the gelding up in the last trio in the early stages when there did not seem to be much pace on up front. As the race developed Managua came under pressure in the home straight and started to hang a bit to the right, Munro then switched him to the left and he began to run on well. He was never going to catch the front two, Final Victory and Classic Vintage, who were duelling up front, but there was a lot to like about the manner in which he stayed on to take third.

Having been off the track for almost two years, Mick Channon’s gelding ran an eye-catching race on his comeback run last month at Yarmouth, when he was keen early on but still ran on well to get to within three parts of a length of Bugaku, his jockey understandably not subjecting him to too hard a race. This was a similarly promising effort, upped in trip to 12 furlongs. He shaped as if the extra two furlongs would suit but he may not have been tested properly as they did not go much of a gallop early on, making it difficult for anything to come from off the pace. There is every chance that this race will bring him on again, he is still lightly raced and has lots of scope for improvement. As a bonus, the handicapper has somewhat surprisingly dropped him 1lb to a mark of 80.

The Mick Channon-trained gelding’s last run before the start of this season was in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket in July 2008, when he finished second last of the nine runners. That was obviously not his true running, given that he was off the track for almost two years afterwards. On his last run before the Superlative Stakes, he had won his maiden really well at Sandown, a race from which the second, third, fourth, fifth and seventh all came out and won on their next respective starts. He has clearly his problems, but it looks like he has retained the talent that he showed early on in his career. He is in a 12-furlong handicap at Epsom this weekend, and he would be interesting if he took his chance in that, especially if it looked like there was going to be a decent pace on, which there usually is in these big middle distance handicaps at Epsom.

22nd May 2010