Horses To Follow » Alnadana


The Alain De Royer-Dupre-trained Alnadana might well have won the Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom on Saturday had she handled the camber a little better. Dropped in by Christophe Soumillon from her draw in stall eight of eight, she travelled easily out the back off a slow enough pace, as other fillies fought for their heads and flashed their tails. She travelled well down the hill and handled the turn well, disputing last place with the eventual winner Eva’s Request as they straightened up. Soumillon went outside as Eddie Creighton on Eva’s Request went inside.

From there it all started to go wrong for the Aga Khan’s filly. She got into a bumping match with Badiat Alzaman as they both fought for the same position just outside the favourite Spacious as she delivered her challenge. Alnadan lost that battle, but continued to make ground on the outside. Despite the energy that she had to have expended in that scrimmage, she still had enough in reserve to go past Badiat Alzaman and move up on the outside of Spacious. From there, she still had at least two lengths to find with Eva’s Request, who had charted a largely untroubled passage through on the inside, but it looked like she would make it up as she got to within a half a length. At that point, Soumillon switched his whip from his left hand to his right, his filly understandably rolled down the camber away from the whip and into Eva’s Request. She checked her stride, straightened up, looked like she might still get there, then rolled down into the other filly again. That was it for her and Eva’s Request went on to win by a length. You never know with these things, and I am always reluctant to suggest that a beaten horse would have won if things had turned out differently, given that winners often win with more in hand than is immediately apparent, but in this instance, Alnadana had to have gone close.

This was a decent fillies’ race. Despite the slow early pace, the time was still very good, 0.16secs/furlong slower than standard and, comparatively, only 0.05secs/furlong slower than the Derby, and the highly talented, if largely disappointing, Spacious was well behind in third place. De Royer-Dupre is not a man to send a filly to the UK unless he thinks that she has a real chance of going close, so it was significant that he send Alnadana over to Epsom for this. She has won at listed level and gone close at Group 3 level before, but this was probably the best run of her career to date. She is obviously progressive, she is from the family of Sakhee and other good middle distance performers, so she should be effective at longer than this extended mile trip, and she should be worth following wherever she goes next.

6th June 2009