Horses To Follow » Layla's Hero

Layla’s Hero

Things didn’t pan out ideally for Layla’s Hero in the Listed Rockingham Stakes run over six furlongs at York on Saturday, yet she still ran out an emphatic winner. Slowly away from stall 12 on the near rail, almost certainly by design, Eddie Ahern moved him over to the centre of the track in behind horses. From there, as Capercaillie and Ghostwing took them along at a fair pace, he got a nice tow into the race, but all the while Ahern appeared to be waiting for a gap to materialise, which it never did. The rider allowed his horse drift over towards the far side, all the while seeking the gap, but, by the time they reached the two-furlong pole, he had gone the whole way across the track, and ended up having to deliver his challenge on the far side of the entire field. It took the son of One Cool Cat a little while to pick up when Ahern went for him, and it looked like he might have used up too much energy moving across the track, to the extent that he traded at 40/1 in-running, but his rider obviously knew what he had left in the tank, and once he got going, he picked up really impressively, striking the front inside the final furlong and going right away to win by almost three lengths.

This was a good race, right up to listed race standard. The runner-up Coolminx had won her only two races, including her maiden at the track, third placed Never The Waiter, from the Brian Meehan yard whose juveniles invariably improve with racing, had been impressive in winning his previous run. just the second of his life, at Wolverhampton, and the first three stretched clear, with a couple of well thought-of individuals in behind. Layla’s Hero has had plenty of experience, he had raced six times before Saturday, and he was really well backed when just beaten by his stable companion Bluie in a good nursery off a mark of 71 at Glorious Goodwood. He has obviously always been highly regarded by his trainer Dandy Nicholls, but he seems to be improving now with experience and possibly for encountering easy ground. His previous run, when he dotted up in a nursery at Haydock off a mark of 83, gaining his revenge on Bluie, had been the most impressive performance of his career, and resulted in the handicapper raising him 13lb, but Saturday’s performance surpassed even that. He is most progressive now, he could easily win again this season, and he is an exciting prospect for next season.

10th October 2009