Horses To Follow » Shamandar


There was a lot to like about the manner in which Shamandar landed the six-furlong listed race for juveniles at Salisbury last Thursday. The ground was very testing at Salisbury on the day, they were struggling to get home, so Michael Hills took William Haggas’s filly back in behind in the early stages, and she settled nicely, despite the fact that she was being annoyed by the hanging She’s A Character through the early stages. She made nice progress in the centre when her rider asked her to improve, and she quickened up well at the furlong pole to take it up inside the final 200 yards and win well. A lot of the talk both beforehand and afterwards was about the favourite, the Brian Meehan filly Conniption. In fairness, she did lose a lot of ground by hanging to her right towards the far rail, and it is probable that she raced on the worst of the ground through the final stages of the race over there as a result. However, such was the manner and authority of Shamandar’s success that it is difficult to think that Conniption would have beaten her.

This was just the fourth start of Shamandar’s life. She won on her debut at Ripon, she was beaten only by an on-song Monsieur Chevalier, who was competing over his optimum distance of five furlongs, in a valuable sales race at Newbury after looking a likely winner, and she was only just beaten by the highly-regarded Godolphin filly Sand Vixen on her final start before last Thursday in a listed race at Newbury, with the pair of them pulling clear of their rivals. She might well have beaten Sand Vixen that day had her rider swithced her whip and managed to keep her straight instead of allowing her drift into the centre of the track. The third horse that day, two and a half lengths behind the leading pair, was Above Limits, who ran so well to finish third against high class older sprinters Strike The Deal and Inxile and Spin Cycle in a listed race at Doncaster on Wednesday.

Shamandar coped well with the testing conditions at Salisbury, which adds another string to her bow, but her rider said afterwards that she would be better on better ground, and her action suggests as much. She is in the Watership Down sales race at Ascot at the end of September, and she could take some beating in that. She also holds an entry in the Cheveley Park, and that may not be tilting at windmills either.

3rd September 2009