Horses To Follow » Ouqba


Ouqba was probably unlucky not to win the Group 2 Challenge Stakes at Newmarket last Saturday. He was bumped at the start, he probably travelled further back in the field than Richard Hills wanted, and then, when he did manoeuvre to make his challenge, he was checked in his run and had to switch to the near side. After all of that, he still finished really well, failing by just a neck to catch the winner Arabian Gleam. Ouqba has been a largely unheralded performer all season, despite winning the Free Handicap and the Jersey Stakes. I suppose he has lacked consistency, and Richard Hills rejected him in both the Dewhurst last season and the Jersey Stakes, which he won. Then, when he did ride him in the Lennox Stakes, he disappointed, and the race was won by Finjaan, the horse that Hills chose to ride in the Dewhurst. It’s not easy. Ouqba will not race again this season, but he does stay in training, and he could prove to be a top seven-to-eight-furlong horse next season. He remains under-rated.

17th October 2009