Horses To Follow » Tombi


Tombi finished just fourth in the seven-furlong conditions’ stakes at York on Saturday, but there was a lot to like about his performance. Settled in fourth place on the outside behind a decent pace that was set by the free-racing Taqdeyr, he travelled best of the 10 runners at the three-furlong pole, improved well for pressure to take it up inside the final quarter-mile, and looked all over the winner, trading at 1/5 in-running, before his early exertions told and he was run down by the three late-closers, Regal Parade, Court Masterpiece and Mia’s Boy well inside the final furlong.

There were mitigating circumstances. Firstly, the early pace was hot and Tombi chased it. The three horses that filled the first three places occupied three of the last four places turning for home, and still occupied those places passing the two-furlong marker. The race was set up for the closers. Secondly, Tombi has never won over further than six furlongs. He did shape like he got the distance when he was beaten a neck by Il Warrd in a listed race at Redcar on his penultimate run of last season in October, and that was one of the best runs of his life, but the early pace was just reasonable that day, certainly it wasn’t as strong as it was on Saturday. Tombi probably only just about gets seven furlongs, and the fact remains that all three of his win have been achieved on fast ground over six furlongs. Finally, this was Tombi’s seasonal debut. While he does go well fresh, and while he has won on his debut on each of his last two seasons racing, he was weak in the market before Saturday’s race, and it may have been that he just needed it.

Howard Johnson’s gelding will be interesting now on fast ground over a stiff six furlongs. He is entered in the Wokingham, run over a stiff six furlongs at Royal Ascot where they invariably go a breakneck pace, and he would be of big interest in that as long as the ground remains fast. His rating of 110 would probably see him have to carry top weight, but it is a race in which high weights do well. Three of the last six winners of the race carried 9st 6lb or more, seven of the last 10 carried 9st 2lb or more and Baltic King won it with 9st 10lb on his back in 2006. Even if he doesn’t run in the Wokingham, he should be worth following wherever he goes next. He is at least listed-race class.

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© The Irish Field, 6th June 2009