Horses To Follow » Nasri


We know now that those who raced on the far side up the straight course at Goodwood on Stewards’ Cup day were at an advantage, but a couple of days beforehand, it was thought that the middle of the track was the place to be, with connections of many of the leading fancies wanting to be drawn in the middle. Dandy Nicholls was one man who was sure the middle was the place to be and he managed to secure stalls 13, 14, 15 and 17 for four of his runners but one who wasn’t pulled out of the hat until late on was his Nasri and connections had to settle for stall 27 for him, right over on the near side.

From that draw he had no real choice but to stay on the near side, which he did, and he did well to make a real fist of it. He led a group of just four down the stands side until moving across towards the rest of the runners who had gone across to the far side about a furlong and a half out. It is unclear whether that was a deliberate ploy from his rider, aware that he was some way off the leaders over there, or whether the horse just took him there, wanting something to race with. Either way, he lost a fair bit of ground in moving across as the front three were right over towards the far rail, yet he still carried a considerable amount of momentum into the closing stages and battled on really strongly to finish fourth, just a head and a short head behind his stable mate Tax Free in second. While he would not have seriously troubled the winner Hoof It, who could well now be a Group 1 horse (he ran to a mark here good enough to win six of the last 10 renewals of the Nunthorpe, for which he now heads), it is not hard to make the case that Nasri would have finished second had he been drawn lower.

Most of Nasri’s form is over seven furlongs, his only win since his two-year-old days came over that trip, but he showed here that he is just as adept at a fast-run six furlongs. In fact he may now be even better over six furlongs. He showed plenty of pace to tow his group along, he wasn’t that far off the tearaway Fitz Flyer and Evens And Odds, who rather took each other on down the middle of the track, and he was a little way ahead of the eight or so who were initially by themselves on the far side. He had run a big race in the Victoria Cup at Ascot earlier in the season to finish third having been in front a furlong out. The form of that race is strong, with many winners and placed horses of subsequent big handicaps over six and seven furlongs coming out of the race, including Manassas, Brae Hill, Fathsta and Noble Citizen.

Nasri clearly has a lot of scope over this trip and has been left on a mark of 97, still a decent mark for him, the same mark off which that Victoria Cup performance came. It would be no surprise to see him targeted now at the Ayr Gold Cup, and he must be high on the shortlist for that race.

30th July 2011