Horses To Follow » Tastahil


Tastahil put up a fine front-running performance to land the Aston Park Stakes at Newbury last Saturday. It looked like All The Aces had the measure of Barry Hills’s horse when that one laid down a challenge inside the final 200 yards, and probably went a head up, but Tastahil battled back really bravely (All The Aces traded at 1.06 in-running) to wrest the lead back in a race that had effectively developed into a duel. In fairness to Richard Hills, he admitted afterwards that he probably hadn’t gone quickly enough on Tastahil when he had been beaten on his previous run in the John Porter Stakes, but he had obviously learned his lesson, as he set a fair pace this time, and that was in his favour. What did impress was his gameness and his willing attitude, he really didn’t want to be beaten, and actually Hills didn’t have to be that hard on him in the end. He did have the edge over All The Aces in terms of race fitness, but it was still a fine effort to beat him and the pair came clear of The Betchworth Kid and the ill-fated Tropical Strait.

This mile-and-five-and-a-half-furlong trip was the furthest that Tastahil had ever tried, but he raced like he should improve for an even stiffer test of stamina. He is quoted at 66/1 for the Ascot Gold Cup at this stage, but that is not an altogether ridiculous idea. He is obviously untried over that far, but there is every chance that he will relish that type of test of stamina. He doesn’t have much to find with Patkai (as low as 7/4 for the Gold Cup and no better than 2/1) in terms of ratings, and he should improve for stepping up in distance. He is a half-brother to Hattan and his dam is a half-sister to Needle Gun, Luso and Warrsan, so he should improve with racing and with age. If he takes his chance in the Ascot Gold Cup, 66/1 is far too big.

16th May 2009