Horses To Follow » Alandi


There was a lot to like about the performance that Alandi put in to land the Listed Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan on Sunday. Settled well out the back by Michael Kinane through the early throes, the Aga Khan colt improved his position around the home turn to go third behind long-time leader Hindu Kush and the English raider The Betchworth Kid at the top of the home straight. It looked like The Betchworth Kid was travelling by far the best of the three at the two-furlong pole, and he is a horse who stays much further than this mile-and-five-furlong trip, as he proved when he kept on really strongly to land the highly competitive Mallard Handicap over a mile and six and a half furlongs on soft ground at Doncaster last September. Also, the Michael Bell representative had had the benefit of an outing already this term, so it was unlikely that he was going to fail for lack of fitness. But Alandi kept on galloping, making inroads into the lead, and managed to get on terms with about a furlong and a half to go. From there, the Galileo colt just got stronger, and he powered his way up the hill to land the spoils by an ever-increasing three and a half lengths, from Hindu Kush, who got back up on the line to just nick the runner-up spot.

There is no telling how good Alandi could be. Trainer John Oxx reported afterwards that he was lazy at home and that he wasn’t expecting him to win based on his homework, but the market disagreed, a weight of money forcing him down from an opening show of 7/1 to an SP of 4/1 clear third favourite. He had only run once previously, in a 12-furlong maiden at The Curragh last October on heavy ground when, similar to Sunday, he ground his way to success. He was entered in the Goffs Horses-in-Training sale a couple of days after that performance, and Oxx said that they had a couple of offers for him to send him hurdling, but they obviously thought enough of him to withdraw him from the sale and to resist all the offers to sell him privately in order to keep him in training this season.

There is any amount of progress now in Alandi, given that this was his seasonal debut and just the second race of his life. It may be that soft ground is important to him – he has never raced on anything else – but it may also be that he just needs a test of stamina in order to be seen as his best. He is a real galloper, and he appears to have a really likeable willing attitude to racing. His dam won over a mile and a half at three, and he is a half-brother to Ayla, who won also over a mile and a half at three, from the family of Oaks ‘winner’ Aliysa, and he is by Galileo, so it is hardly surprising that he appears to relish a test of stamina. Oxx mentioned the Curragh Cup on Derby weekend as a possible next port of call, and he would be of big interest in that contest should he take his chance in it. He would also be of interest in one of the stayers’ races at Royal Ascot if he were to make the trip, as long as the ground did not come up too fast, and the Irish St Leger has to be on his radar.

26th April 2009