Horses To Follow » Beheshtam


As well as the winner Le Havre, Beheshtam was the other horse to take out of the Prix du Jockey Club for me. He had run and won just twice before the race, just scraping home by a cheeky short neck in a listed race on his previous run, but Alain de Royer-Dupre and HH The Aga Khan obviously thought enough of him to pay the €60,000 supplementary entry fee to put him in the French Derby, as their sole representative in a race that they have won twice in the previous six years.

It all started poorly for Beheshtam when he drew stall 15 of the 17 runners. It really is difficult to be competitive from an outside draw in the Jockey Club since it was reduced to 10 and a half furlongs, with the bend now coming up so quickly after the start. If you discount Shamardal’s win from stall 13 when it was run for the first time over it current distance, when he crossed over early and was allowed an easy time of it up front, the four winners over the shorter distance have come from stalls seven, five, four and four, and only two horses drawn in the first nine stalls on Sunday failed to finish in the first nine.

Christophe Soumillon dropped Beheshtam out the back in the early stages. He probably had little choice from his draw, unless he wanted to take a position in the front rank or race four or five horse-widths wide. Second last after they had gone 100 yards, he was still in that position a mile later when they straightened up for home. From there, he made nice progress among horses on the far side – Soumillon went the brave man’s route through horses instead of electing to come wide and trade ground for a guaranteed clear run – finding a gap just inside the two-furlong pole and running on nicely all the way to the line. He would have been able to start his run slightly earlier if he had swung wide, but he would have given away ground, and he probably wouldn’t have finished much if any closer. He galloped all the way to the line without being able to show the acceleration that the winner displayed.

Beheshtam is by Peintre Celebre out of a mare, Behkara, who won a Group 2 race over a mile and seven furlongs on holding ground. His breeding and his running style suggests that he will improve for stepping up to a mile and a half. He will also improve for this, just the third run of his life, and he has to be a major player in the Grand Prix de Paris, the most obvious immediate target for him now. Longer term, it would not be at all surprising if he made up into a real contender for the Arc, for which he is a 20/1 shot at present.

7th June 2009