Horses To Follow » Main Aim

Main Aim

Main Aim defied a significant market drift to run out an impressive winner of the Group 3 John O Gaunt Stakes at Haydock on Saturday. This was the Oasis Dream colt’s first attempt at seven furlongs since he got beaten in a handicap at odds-on at Sandown last July off a mark of 90. He had just scrambled home over the same course and distance at similarly restrictive odds a couple of weeks previously, when it looked like he just about got the distance, and it looked like it was a lack of stamina that beat him inside the final 150 yards. Since then, he had been plying his trade over six furlongs – and once over five – and making a fairly good fist of things. He was most impressive in landing a good handicap over that distance on soft ground at Doncaster in September, and he had looked really good on his debut at Newbury in May, again on easy ground, again over six furlongs, when he toyed with his field in a Class 2 handicap off a mark of 99 and came home seven lengths clear.

Consequently, it wasn’t certain that the step back up to seven furlongs was going to suit him on Saturday, and he pulled so hard through the first furlong on the inside, as Ryan Moore looked for cover, that it looked like he really was going to struggle to get home. He did settle in behind Welsh Emperor and Beacon Lodge then as they rounded the home turn and the pace picked up. Just nudged into the bridle two and a half furlongs out, he took it up at the two-furlong pole, which was far enough out for a colt who wasn’t certain to last home, but he stuck his neck out willingly and galloped all the way to the line to come home two lengths clear of the well-backed runner-up Beacon Lodge.

This was a step up in class as well as a step up in distance for Main Aim, and he coped with both admirably. He is in the Golden Jubilee at Royal Ascot, but connections are talking about possibly supplementing him for the Queen Anne over a mile, which doesn’t make a great deal of sense to me. He is a half-brother to Weightless, who got 10 furlongs, but that sibling was by In The Wings. Another half-brother Home Affairs got a mile well, but he was by Dansili, also a miler. Main Aim is by Oasis Dream, a July Cup and Nunthorpe winner who bombed in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on his only attempt at that distance and, before Saturday, it looked like Main Aim was struggling to even get seven furlongs. He did see out the distance well on Saturday, despite the fact that he pulled for his head through the early stages. However, they didn’t appear to go a great gallop through the early stages of the race, and that impression was backed up by the time, 0.3secs/furlong slower than Racing Post standard, the slowest comparative time of the day. There was, apparently, a rail realignment, which meant that the runners on the round course had to travel 25 yards further than the advertised distance, but Main Aim’s time did not compare favourably with the other races run over the round course. I will be looking to oppose Main Aim if he is stepped up to a mile next time, but he could be a player in the Golden Jubilee if he goes down that route, especially if it happened to come up on the easy side at Royal Ascot.

30th May 2009