Horses To Follow » Laaheb


Laaheb put up a really nice performance to land a 10-furlong Class 2 handicap at Pontefract on Thursday. It wasn’t the most competitive of races in truth, there were only five runners, but in Larkham he was faced with another potentially progressive opponent, and you know that you can set your watch by William Blake, who had run well on his most recent start to finish a close-up third to Charm School.

Bounced out of the gate, widest of all, Richard Hills quickly crossed over on Laaheb in front of his rivals and onto the inside rail. From there, Hills was allowed steady the pace a little, he wasn’t harried up front, and he went along at his own pace as his four rivals followed on. Hills gradually increased the tempo it up going down the far side, with the result that he had everything except William Blake off the bridle before they turned for home. Hills asked him to extend around the home turn, which he duly did, coming a couple of lengths clear of his field before the rider looked around him passing the two-furlong pole. From there, he just kept Laaheb up to his work, and the son of Cape Cross climbed Pontefract’s hill with enthusiasm to win, eased down, by four lengths from William Blake, who was himself four lengths clear of the remainder, in a really good time, 0.19secs/furlong faster than standard.

This was just the fifth run of Laaheb’s life. He won on fast ground at Yarmouth in early July, he won on soft ground at Newmarket in mid July, then got beaten a neck by Broomielaw off a mark of 88 back at Newmarket in early August. There was no great disgrace in that, Broomielaw is a talented performer who was very well fancied for the Cambridgeshire before he disappointed off a 7lb higher mark in the John Smith’s Stakes last Saturday. The time of that Newmarket race was good, and Laaheb had been in front for a long way, displaying signs of inexperience by hanging a bit to his right. He was straight as an arrow on Thursday, and this performance off a 6lb higher mark represented a fair step forward. The handicapper will no doubt have his say, but he is really progressive now, and he should be worth following wherever he goes next.

24th September 2009