Horses To Follow » Sohraab


Sohraab ran a big race to finish fourth behind Borderlescott in the Listed five-furlong race at Chester on Saturday. The last thing you want over five furlongs at Chester is a high draw, so Sohraab’s draw in stall 10 of 11 was almost as bad as you could get. The stalls for five-furlong races at Chester are actually on the bend, so you are losing ground from a wide draw as soon as you set one hoof in front of the other. It is difficult to know what to do in that instance. Do you blast forward and try to get in as quickly as you can, do you take a tug, sit in and try to get to the inside rail in behind runners as quickly as you can, or do you just sit wide and suffer.

Darryll Holland on Sohraab decided to take his horse back early on, but he had difficulty doing so, Sohraab was keener than ideal and Holland had to take a really strong tug on the crown of the bend just to get him in behind runners. By the time he had done that, they had gone two furlongs and he was two or three lengths behind the main group and pushing along again. From there, it was always going to be an uphill struggle. He didn’t really get to make up the ground as habitual blasters Rievaulx World and Masta Plasta took them off their feet up front, and Holland rowed along for another two furlongs, still two lengths off the main field. Taken to the near side when they entered the home straight, not much more than a furlong long, Sohraab was stone last and at least four lengths off the leader when they passed the furlong pole, but he finished with purpose on the near side, best of all by far, to finish fourth, just a length and a half behind the winner.

I am not usually one for backing unlucky losers next time, winning is a good habit, even for racehorses, but there are mitigating circumstances here. So called unlucky losers are usually fast-finishing losers, and they are usually fast-finishing and apparently unlucky because they lacked pace at a crucial stage of the race. You could argue that Sohraab lacked pace through the middle part of the race here, but I am happy to believe that his poor position was more down to his draw and the way in which the early part of the race played out for him as a result of his draw, than it was down to a lack of pace. And racehorses will rarely go faster than when Rievaulx World and Masta Plasta take each other on up front. He is at his best over five furlongs, so you can forgive him his run behind JJ The Jet Plane at Windsor, and in the Wokingham. He seems to like it at Chester – he won on his only previous start there – but he has also won at Newmarket and York on turf. He is worth another chance back over five furlongs. If that is at Chester, so much the better, as long as the draw is kinder.

11th July 2009