Horses To Follow » Ialysos


It was difficult to know what to make of Ialysos before the Listed Achilles Stakes at Haydock on Saturday. He had raced seven times, but all of those races were at Markopoulu in his native Greece on sand, and collateral lines of form between Markopoulu and Haydock are just not up to scratch. On the plus side, it was Luca Cumani who had taken over responsibility for his training, and Cumani’s reputation with foreign imports (ref. Falbrav, Starcraft) was further enhanced earlier in the week when Cima De Triomphe got up on the line to beat Conduit in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown. That was Cima De Triomphe’s second run for Cumani, however. The Derby Italiano winner had been fairly disappointing on his first start for his new trainer in the Prix Ganay, and Cumani said afterwards that he expected him to come on a fair bit from that run, so it was reasonable not to expect too much from Ialysos on Saturday on his debut for Cumani, a view that was backed up by his relative weakness in the market.

Sure enough, it didn’t look very promising for the Greek in the early stages of the race. He stumbled a little on leaving the stalls, and looked to be outpaced after they had gone two furlongs. He was being scrubbed along by William Buick passing the two-furlong pole, in common with the four other horses who raced down the near side as Dandy Man and Hoh Hoh Hoh and Percolator looked to be doing it easily enough on the far side. It wasn’t until they neared the furlong pole that Ialysos began to pick up. As he did he moved to his left to join in with those on the far side, but he made up a lot of ground inside the final 200 yards to get up and land the spoils by a neck. The visual impression of this performance may have flattered Ialysos a little. It is probable that they went too fast in the early stages on the far side, and that they were stopping over there as the Greek horse moved over to join in, so his finishing burst was probably accentuated somewhat. That said, he was a half a length behind Royal Rock at the furlong pole as the pair converged in the centre, and he beat that rival by about three and a half. Also, if you examine Ialysos’s finish relative to Anglezarke, who also raced on the near side, he started his run a furlong and a half out about two lengths behind the three-year-old filly, and he beat her by a neck.

Tim Easterby’s filly is highly talented, rated 102, and Ialysos was giving her 13lb, so it was a really useful performance even just on the face of it. More than that, however, is the improvement that is almost certainly forthcoming. Ialysos hadn’t raced since February before this, and Cumani is not a man to rush his horses or do things too quickly. Furthermore, he is not known as a sprint specialist. Indeed, apparently this fellow is the only sprinter that the Italian trains at present, so it is probable, especially given his pre-race weakness in the market, that there is plenty more to come. He is by the Nunthorpe winner So Factual and he is from the family of Middle Park winner Tachypous, so there is plenty of speed in his pedigree. Cumani is talking about running him in the Golden Jubilee at Royal Ascot over six furlongs instead of in the King’s Stand over five, and that makes sense given how long it took him to pick up on Saturday over five. He could just be taken off his feet in the King’s Stand. He is a dual winner over seven furlongs in Greece, and the six furlongs of the Golden Jubilee should be ideal. Current best odds of 16/1 for that contest look big.

30th May 2009