Horses To Follow » Shamali


Shamali is better than his finishing position in the Suffolk Stakes at Newmarket on 2000 Guineas day suggests. William Haggas’s five-year-old was drawn widest of all in 16, he broke well enough but Richard Hills seemed to be intent on holding him up in the early stages. He travelled nicely off the pace and arrived there three furlongs out, looking a threat, moved up to within a length of the leader but he appeared to tire inside the final furlong and his challenge petered out, and he faded to finish sixth, leaving the lasting impression that he needed this run, his first of the season, quite badly.

This was a good competitive handicap, they all raced down the centre of the track, and the race was run at a decent pace, resulting in a fast time. The son of Selkirk was a well supported joint favourite, he came with what looked like a big challenge two and a half furlongs out before lack of a recent run seemed to tell against him. He was beaten on his first two runs last year before he came good and won two races at Ascot, both impressively, the first a good handicap where he made ground from well off the pace to win readily, when his trainer reported that he was just getting the hang of things. He was entered in the Ebor but didn’t take his chance in it as Richard Hills was convinced that he wouldn’t stay, even though his dam has won twice over a mile and six furlongs.

Shamali appears to have been a fairly late developer. He didn’t make his racecourse debut until the winter of his three-year-old season, but he is a talented sort. He remains a progressive sort, he is lightly raced for a five-year-old, having run just eight times now in his life. He should be worth following wherever he goes next, but he may be even better after that, given that it has taken him a few runs to reach his peak in his previous two seasons. He has won over 10 furlongs twice, but he should get 12 furlongs at least, given that his dam won over a mile and six. He was well beaten on his racecourse debut on soft ground, so he may need good ground or better to be seen at his best.

1st May 2010