Horses To Follow » Tamagin


There was a lot to like about the way in which Tamagin stuck to his task to land the six-furlong listed race at Goodwood on Saturday, breaking the track record in the process. This was a hot listed race, which included July Cup third JJ The Jet Plane as well as a couple of previously listed race winners, but there was nothing going to lead Tamagin out of the gate, not even the speedball Mac Gilla Eoin. Once he had secured the early lead, Stephen Donohoe set about hanging on to Tamagin a little, retaining something for the final two furlongs instead of allowing himself burn himself out too early, and the field congregated around him at the two-furlong pole. He did find more when Donohoe asked him, but Mac Gille Eoin remained a persistent challenger on the far side, actually going about a neck up inside the final furlong. However, despite the fact that he is a front-runner, Tamagin loves a scrap, and he battled back tenaciously under the near rail to actually win a shade cosily, though by no more than a head.

Tamagin has now run 55 times, but this was just his sixth start for current trainer Jeff Pearce, and it was probably the best run of his career. He would have had top weight in the Ayr Gold Cup, so it was probably a wise decision to swerve that with him. He is entered in the Diadem Stakes at Ascot next Sunday, but I would be a little worried about him at Ascot. He has raced there three times, and he has been fairly disappointing on his last two starts there. It may be that it is the big fields rather than the ground or anything else about Ascot that he doesn’t like, however. All three of his runs there have been in big fields, and the best of the three was the first of them, when he finished fifth in last year’s Wokingham. He was able to lead the stands side group that day before he hung to his right and ended up in the centre of the track. He did something similar when he was just beaten a neck by Markab in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon on his third last start. He didn’t do that last Saturday, when Mac Gille Eoin’s tendency to hang to his left possibly helped in that regard, nor on his penultimate run at Newmarket, when he came straight down the stands rail and probably wasn’t helped by having to race on his own. The potentially high class Palace Moon won that race, with subsequent Ayr Gold Cup winner Jimmy Styles finishing third, so Tamagin can be marked up a fair bit on that, given that he probably had it all to do anyway racing on his own, for a horse who loves a battle. The other thing about him in the context of Ascot is that he has run well on Polytrack in the past – he made his name on the surface – and horses who do well on the all-weather tend to also do well at Ascot. They usually don’t get too many runners in the Diadem, it isn’t like the Wokingham or the Challenge Cup and, on balance, if Tamagin can draw a high stall, towards the far side, so that his tendency to hang to his right can be stemmed, he could go well in the race at a big price.

12th September 2009