Horses To Follow » Tastahil


Tastahil ran out a good winner of the Class 2 12-furlong handicap at Doncaster on Sunday. Always travelling well just behind pace-setter Drill Sergeant, who was allowed an easy time of it up front, he improved nicely to join the leader – who still travelled well at the three-furlong pole. At that point, he was travelling much better than any of his rivals and, although it did take him a while to wear down the gutsy Drill Sergeant, you always felt that he was going to get on top, and he pulled nicely clear inside the final 100 yards to win by a length and a half.

Nicely progressive last season, the son of Singspiel is still fairly lightly-raced for a five-year-old. The best performance of his life before Sunday was in the November Handicap at Doncaster at the tail end of last season when, despite being hampered in the scrimmaging two furlongs out, he kept on well to finish third, just two and a half lengths behind the winner Tropical Strait. That was a typically strong race, with the winner and the second coming into the race on the back of big handicap performances.

Tastahil was gelded during the winter, and his effort on Sunday was probably even a step up on his November Handicap performance. He did it in a professional manner and the time of the race was good, 0.1sec/furlong faster than Racing Post standard. He is a half-brother to Hattan, who improved as he moved through his fifth and sixth years, and there is almost certainly better to come from Tastahil. His trainer, Barry Hills, loves to have winners at Chester, and it would not be at all surprising to see Tastahil show up there. The three best performances of his career have been at Doncaster, but he did run finish second to Bankable at Ascot early last season, and he should be adaptable in terms of course configuration. He appears to handle any ground as well and, as long as the handicapper doesn’t go bananas, which he really shouldn’t, for this win, he should be worth following wherever he goes next.

29th March, 2009