Horses To Follow » Mabuya


They went steady enough through the first two furlongs of the 10-furlong handicap at Ascot on Saturday, with the result that a couple of them were pulling for their heads, but they fairly quickened up then once Road To Love was allowed stride on, so much so that the field got well stretched early on, about 15 lengths between first and last passing the six-furlong pole. Given that they went so fast, Mabuya did remarkably well to finish second after chasing the leader for most of the way.

Usually a front-runner, Fergus Sweeney was content to take a lead on this occasion, probably mindful of the fact that Road To Love was also a front-runner, and not wanting to get involved in a battle for the early lead. Mabuya seemed happy enough to track the leader, the pair of them and Ramona Chase pulling well clear of the chasing pack early in the piece. Mabuya took it up at the two-furlong pole, quickly took two lengths out of the field, and looked to be travelling like a winner, but Shamali had charted his way through from the back, and took it up off him inside the final furlong. Nevertheless, it was a fine effort from Mabuya to keep on to finish second, clear of the rest of the field, given that he had chased what was probably too fast a pace mid-race. The other two horses that made up the leading triumvirate faded to finish third last and second last.

It was encouraging that Mabuya was happy to take a lead on this occasion, and it opens his options in terms of racing style. He has raced just seven times now and he continues to progress. Every one of his runs so far has been a step up on the previous one. The handicapper raised him just 2lb for this performance, but that is lenient. Shamali is another really progressive sort – they are talking about him as an Ebor horse – who had the race run to suit (his performance here was another pointer to Australia Day’s ability) and Mabuya can be marked up a fair bit on the bare form of this performance. He should be worth following next time, and if it looks like he might get it all to himself up front, so much the better.

11th July 2009