Horses To Follow » Zarwaan


Zarwaan seemed to appreciate the switch to hold-up tactics at Newcastle on Saturday when he won the Class 2 seven-furlong handicap. Fast away but allowed drift back in the field on the near side by Paul Hanagan early on, he was last after they had gone three furlongs. Still almost last as they passed the two-furlong pole, Hanagan took him to the near side, and he picked up nicely. He had three lengths to find with the leader Foxtrot Romeo as they neared the furlong pole, but he finished strongly, and got up to win by a head from Lulu The Zulu, who finished well on the far side.

This was Zarwaan’s first win since he won his maiden at Haydock in July 2013. He has run some big races in defeat in the interim, he was second in a Silver Bowl and he was fifth in the Britannia at Royal Ascot last year, but he has almost always been ridden just behind the pace. Indeed, he was held up in the Silver Bowl when he was unlucky to bump into the really well-handicapped Chatez – who is now rated 12lb higher than he was then – but he put up one of the best performances of his career then before Saturday, when he was held up again. Also, the mile may have stretched him a little in the Silver Bowl, it could be that seven furlongs is his absolute optimum.

The handicapper has raised him 7lb for this win to a mark of 109. He would still be of interest off that mark if he took his chance in the Bunbury Cup, but he would be of greater interest in the International Handicap on King George weekend at Ascot, a track at which he is proven and which favours hold-up horses, unlike Newmarket’s July Course, where it can be difficult to make ground from the rear. He goes well on easy ground too, so he should also be noted the next time he races on easy ground, ideally over seven furlongs.

27th June 2015