Horses To Follow » Howdigo


Howdigo ran a cracker to finish second off top weight in a 12-furlong handicap at Kempton on Monday. Weak in the market beforehand, John Best’s gelding was free enough in the early stages of the race, and Marc Halford reined him back in the first couple of furlongs to settle him well back in the field, second last as they rounded the first turn. The race was run at a slow enough pace, which didn’t suit Howdigo’s hold-up racing style at all. He was stone last of the 13 runners and about eight lengths off the pace passing the three-furlong pole and straightening up for home, but he picked up well up the home straight on the near side to pass everything except the winner Thin Red Line, who picked up well himself after racing in mid-division. Nevertheless, it was a fine run from the runner-up.

A decent handicapper last season, when he seemed to improve for stepping up to a mile and a half, winning at Windsor on his first try over the trip and finishing third in a good heritage handicap at Glorious Goodwood on his second, he was off the track from last September to this September, when he finished well down the field in the John Smith’s Handicap won by Almiqdaad. He wasn’t at all disgraced in the Cambridgeshire, noted staying on well having pulled hard early on, and this performance was another step forward from that, the step up to a mile and a half suiting him well. He could have done with a stronger pace, however. John Best’s horses are in good form now after a quite spell, and Howdigo will be of interest now wherever he turns up next, over 10 or 12 furlongs, as long as a decent pace looks on the cards. He goes on easy ground and he goes on Polytrack, so there should be plenty of opportunities for him in the near future.

12th October 2009