Horses To Follow » Ivawood


Ivawood put up a really impressive performance to win the July Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday, but he was probably value for even more than the near-three-length winning margin.

A little to his right on exiting from stall one, Richard Hughes quickly had him balanced, and he moved forward easily to dispute the early running with Jungle Cat. Racing towards the near side in a race that appeared to favour those who raced on the far side, he travelled supremely well in front, he picked up nicely at the two-furlong marker when his rider asked him to, and he came clear while edging towards his left inside the final furlong to post an impressive victory.

This is solid form. The runner-up, Jungle Cat, had finished a close-up third in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot on his previous run, while the third-placed and fourth-placed horses, Muhaarar and Belardo, had both run out really impressive winners of their maidens on their respective only previous runs, and both were quietly fancied. Also, the winning time was good, just 0.15secs/furlong slower than standard, the fastest comparative time of the day, which was impressive for a juvenile, even allowing for the fact that the ground was probably getting progressively softer as the day was progressing as the rain was getting into it.

This was just Ivawood’s second ever race. Like the third and fourth horses, Richard Hannon’s horse had been really impressive in winning his maiden on his only previous run, and he was well-fancied for this, he was sent off the 3/1 favourite for a race that contained several exciting prospects and several others with proven form. A 220,000-guinea yearling and always highly-regarded, his maiden win was over five furlongs, but he seemed to appreciate the step up to six furlongs here, and his pedigree suggests that he will improve as he steps up further in trip.

His yard won this race three times in the previous four years, and it is significant that they relied on Ivawood as their main hope (they also left 25/1 shot Dougal in the race) in the race from a six-strong entry that included Norfolk Stakes winner Baitha Alga and Railway Stakes winner Kool Kompany. A son of first-season stallion Zebedee, he will be of interest in the Gimcrack or the Middle Park or even the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere. He would also be of big interest if he took his chance in some of the big sales races in which he holds entries later in the season. Looking further ahead, it is not stretching it to say that he is a Guineas prospect for next season already.

10th July 2014