Horses To Follow » Mawatheeq


Mawatheeq put up a really nice performance to land a tight-looking 10-furlong Class 2 handicap at Doncaster on Thursday. Settled last of the six runners in the early stages behind a true pace set by habitual front-runner Australia Day, he was still last with two and a half furlongs to run, but he was only three lengths off the pace at that stage and Richard Hills didn’t appear to be too anxious as he asked his horse to improve down the outside. Once he gave Mawatheeq a slight squeeze, he picked up impressively. Fanjura was quickening on his inside and the filly Eastern Aria had just taken up the running from Australia Day, but it always looked like Mawatheeq was travelling slightly stronger and with more momentum. He took it up a furlong and a half out and went on powerfully, despite drifting over to the far rail, to go two lengths up with 100 yards to run. Hills just kept him up to his work from there, and he actually won quite cosily by a length and a half from Eastern Aria, with Fanjura a similar distance back in third.

This was a really decent race, despite three scratchings. Eastern Aria has won a valuable handicap at Beverley on her previous start, Fanjura had won his previous three, the last one a heritage handicap at Sandown, Alfathaa had run well in Roaring Forte’s race at York and it looked like the step back up in trip would suit, while Australia Day, who beat subsequent Group 1 winner Presvis in a handicap at Sandown just over a year ago, had won a hurdle race by a distance at the weekend the last time we saw him. Australia Day ensured that it was run at a true pace, despite the relatively small field, and Mawatheeq thrived off it, showing a really smart turn of foot to settle the race as a contest. The son of Danzig is really exciting now. Impressive winner of a good handicap at Ascot last September, he was a little disappointing in a Group 3 race at Newmarket last October on his final start last season behind Charlie Farnsbarns, Bankable and Kirklees, but he injured himself going into the Dip that day, so you can excuse him that. You can also excuse him his debut this season, when he was well beaten in the Spring Cup, as all of Marcus Tregoning’s horses were way out of sorts at the time. That was on soft ground also, he is probably a better horse on better ground. This was his first run since, and Tregoning had warned beforehand that he would come on for it. If that is the case, he could prove to be high class indeed. He raced off a mark of 102 here, but he is hugely progressive – it was just his sixth race – and he is worth a fair bit more than that. He is in the Cambridgeshire, and he would be really interesting if he took his chance in it. A rating of 102 is high enough, and he will have a penalty to carry as well, although he could just be classy enough to get away with it. You need a future Group horse to win the Cambridgeshire these days, and this fellow could easily be one of those. Indeed, all things being equal, it would be surprising if he didn’t turn out to be Group class, and the last two winners of the Cambridgeshire were both rated 102. He would be well over-priced for that race at 20/1 if you knew that he was an intended runner. The worry in terms of the Cambridgeshire is that, in his post-race interview, Richard Hills said that, because he got injured going into the Dip last October, Sheikh Hamdan may not be so keen on going back to Newmarket. Even if he misses the Cambridgeshire, he should be worth following wherever he goes next. He is also in the John Smith’s Handicap at Newbury next Saturday, and he would be an interesting runner in that.

10th September 2009