Horses To Follow » Prizefighting


Prizefighting put in an eye-catching run to finish fifth in a Class 2 10-and-a-half-furlong Conditions Stakes at Doncaster on Wednesday. Slowly away and well back in the field in the early stages as the two Godolphin horses Chock A Block and favourite Al Zir stretched them out down the back straight, the John Gosden-trained gelding came off the bridle early in the home straight and looked in danger of becoming totally detached, but he did begin to pick up from the two-furlong pole, and he got right in there among them. Actually, if William Buick was easy enough on him once it was obvious that he couldn’t win, but the horse still ran on all the way to the line, going down by just a total of three lengths in the end.

Princess Haya’s horse promised an awful lot in the early part of his career, but has ultimately been disappointing to date. An impressive winner on his racecourse debut at Kempton last October, when he showed an electric turn of foot inside the final furlong to win what wasn’t a bad maiden, Gosden thought enough of him to allow him take his chance in the Group 1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud, the race that Jan Vermeer won and in which Midas Touch finished fourth, on just his second ever start, when he floundered on the soft ground. Second to Rewilding in the Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood on his second run this season, blinkers didn’t help him at all in the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy on his last run before Wednesday, when he trailed in last of the seven runners. Now a gelding, with the blinkers discarded, Wednesday’s performance was his most encouraging for some time. He handled the easy ground well and, while he isn’t necessarily bred for stamina, he gave the impression on Wednesday that he would benefit from a step up in trip.

He had handled easy ground when he finished fourth behind Goldwaki in a Group 3 12-furlong race at Chantilly in June, when he also stayed on well off a slow pace. He will be interesting now stepped up in trip again to a mile and a half or perhaps even further. He is rated 105, but he still could be one for the November Handicap back at Doncaster on 6th November, a race in which three-year-olds do particularly well, and a race that Gosden won with the Princess Haya-owned Charm School last year.

8th September 2010

© The Irish Field, 11th September 2010