Horses To Follow » Silaah


As well as Dark Mischief, winner of a six-furlong classified stakes at Haydock on Tuesday, the runner-up Silaah is also worthy of note. Adrian Nicholls on Silaah tracked Dane O’Neill on Dark Mischief down the stands rail, contrary to the popular wisdom that prevailed in the preceding race and among six of the eight jockeys in this one, but it turned out the be the right move. The pair who raced on the stands rail dominated, although such was the magnitude of their superiority, it is difficult to believe that they wouldn’t have come out on top wherever they had raced.

Silaah laid down a strong challenge to Dark Mischief at the furlong pole, and looked like the most likely winner for a few strides, but he edged to his left away from his rival and the rail and his rider’s whip, which didn’t help. He probably wouldn’t have won anyway, even if he had charted a true course, Dark Mischief won cosily in the end, but he lost no caste in going down to a talented and progressive individual in a good time, with the pair of them pulling seven lengths clear of some useful rivals. He was weak in the market beforehand, and he should progress from this.

Formerly owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum and trained by Ed Dunlop, this was just Silaah’s second start since joining Dandy Nicholls. Beaten just a neck on his first start for the trainer at Newmarket in August, when he took it up a furlong out and was just headed inside the final 100 yards, this was a decent step up on that. There is almost certainly more improvement to come. He goes well on Polytrack – he has won twice and has never been out of the first four in six starts on the surface, all but one of them at Kempton – and he is probably even better over seven furlongs than he is over six, although the fact that he has now joined Dandy Nicholls means that he will probably be campaigned mainly over the shorter distance. He has shown a tendency to go to his left in the past, even before Tuesday, so he might be even better when he has a left-hand rail against which to race. Hopefully the handicapper won’t be too hard on him for this run. He is interesting.

16th September 2009