Horses To Follow » Hoh Hoh Hoh

Hoh Hoh Hoh

As well as the winner Ialysos, Hoh Hoh Hoh was the other horse to take out of the Listed Achilles Stakes at Haydock on Saturday. This was a race of two halves, with those drawn on the far side well on top until the two-furlong pole and looking like they had it to themselves, before the near side bunch swamped them inside the final furlong. The exception to that dissection was Hoh Hoh Hoh.

Drawn right on the far side in stall one, he tracked the pace set by Percolator and Dandy Man before taking it up just inside the two-furlong pole. That was plenty early enough in a five-furlong race, especially for one whose best performances have been when he has been dropped on the line (it was only the second time that Ryan Moore had ridden him). Even at that, he looked the most likely winner until the final 100 yards when Ialysos’s thundering late run was just too strong to withstand, and the filly Anglezarke stole up the stands rail to even deprive Richard Price’s gelding of second place.

Even so, this was a huge performance from Hoh Hoh Hoh, much better than it looks on paper. It is probable that the far side group were disadvantaged. As long as the ground is not too soft, you are always better to be drawn high than low on the straight course at Haydock. This disadvantage was accentuated by the fact that Dandy Man probably took the far side group through the early stages of the race at too fast a tempo. They were well ahead at the two-furlong pole, but had little left to give inside the final 200 yards as a result. The winner, second and fourth in the 11-strong field were drawn 10, 11 and eight respectively. Hoh Hoh Hoh was drawn in stall one. He won the race among those on the far side by two and a half lengths, and even that was with being sent to the front sooner than ideal.

Hoh Hoh Hoh has been fairly inconsistent in the past, but his last three runs now have been really good. He beat Pawan at Nottingham at the beginning of April, then ran a cracker to finish second to Henry Candy’s exciting sprinter Amour Propre in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket on Guineas weekend, when he just got the better of last year’s July Cup winner Borderlescott for that runner-up spot. It looks now like he is in the form of his life (he could only finish sixth in last year’s Palace House). He is at his best over a strongly-run five furlongs, ideally at a stiff track. As such, he is worth a shot at the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. He has run at Ascot just twice, both times over five furlongs, both times in big handicaps, and he has finished second twice. He is currently trading at 100/1 on Betfair for the King’s Stand, he is 66/1 generally with the bookmakers. If he takes his chance in the race, those odds could significantly under-estimate his prospects.

30th May 2009