Horses To Follow » Aznavour


Another John Oxx-trained horse, Aznavour, put up a really nice performance on his racecourse debut to land a three-year-old maiden run over a mile at Gowran Park on Sunday. Smartly away for Niall McCullagh and quickly into a nice position on the rail just behind the early leader Cape D’Or, he travelled nicely into the home straight, got a nice opening on the rail as the leader drifted off it, and quickened through well to pick it up at the two-furlong pole, pulling away nicely inside the final furlong to win impressively by over four lengths.

There is no doubting that Aznavour got the run of the race here. Drawn in stall 13, one off the inside rail, he never had to leave his inside berth, which was no disadvantage on the day. He got a nice lead into the home straight, and a gap opened up on the rail just when his rider wanted to go forward. That said, Aznavour had the early pace to adopt and maintain a good position, he had the turn of foot to take a couple of lengths out of his field a furlong and a half out and, such was the manner and the style of his win, it is difficult to argue that he would not have won anyway wherever he had raced on the track.

This was probably a good maiden. The runner-up, Hot Sand, had finished second to Address Unknown at Dundalk last November on his previous run, and that horse was only beaten two lengths in the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown two weeks ago, running a lot better than his finishing position suggested. The third horse on Sunday, Is Feidir Linn, was a smart juvenile last season and had had the benefit of a run this term. Also, there were four races run over a mile at the track on the day, and this was the fastest of the four, almost a second faster than the next fastest.

Aznavour is a son of Azamour out of the Cadeaux Genereux mare Cadence who won one of her three races, over nine furlongs. He is reportedly a little lazy at home, which probably explains his market drift prior to Sunday’s race, but it was difficult not to be impressed with his performance on the racecourse. He should go on from this now, he could make up into a smart miler this term and, while he is not devoid of pace, he gives every indication that he would have no problem stepping up to 10 furlongs if he needed to. You can easily forgive him his subsequent run at The Curragh on Monday in the Tetrarch Stakes. Listed or Group 3 races for three-year-olds are not easy to find, so it made sense to allow Aznavour take his chance in that contest, even though there was a chance that it came too soon after his Gowran Park run, which it obviously did. Also, he found himself in front from early at The Curragh, which wasn’t ideal. He may be under-rated next time, the quality of his Gowran Park run may be lost on the back of his disappointing run at The Curragh, which was more high profile. I am happy to believe that he is a good horse, and he will be interesting if he is given a little break now and freshened up.

25th April 2010

© The Irish Field, 1st May 2010