Past Winners » Azmeel


I quite like Azmeel here, and he is over-priced in my book at 3/1. A really smart looking two-year-old last year, an impressive winner of the Listed Washington Singer Stakes at Newbury in August, he caught the eye on his re-appearance in the Classic Trial at Sandown. He was notably weak in the market beforehand, yet he travelled really well into the race, moved up nicely between horses and looked like he was going to be involved before Chabal swooped down the outside. He had no answer to the Godolphin horse’s surge, but I liked the way that he kept on under essentially just a hands and heels drive from William Buick to finish second, clear of the rest of the field.

Even the bare form of that run probably gives him a favourite’s chance this afternoon, but it is reasonable to expect that he will improve appreciably for it. He looked like a really exciting prospect when he landed the Washington Singer last season, and the fourth from that race, Lucky General, came out and won the big Goffs Sprint at The Curragh the following month. Azmeel himself was disappointing on that day at The Curragh in the Goffs Million Sprint, but he proved that run to be wrong with his Sandown run.

Dancing David is a danger today, he is the proven class of the race, he was fourth in the Racing Post Trophy and second in the Craven, but there has to be a slight question mark over the strength of the Racing Post Trophy now after the Guineas, and the runaway Craven winner, Elusive Pimpernel, was also shown up as being short of top class in the Guineas. I do like Dancing David, he looked exciting when he beat Tamaathul to win his maiden at Newbury last October, but he just doesn’t have the same scope for progression as Azmeel does for me.

Encompassing is interesting, an impressive winner of his maiden at Limerick last month, a Montjeu colt out of Coronation Stakes winner Sophisticat, but he has to step up a lot on his maiden win to get up to the level that Azmeel and Dancing David set, and I am just a little concerned that Ballydoyle are not hitting their stride yet as they usually do in May, while their two runners at Chester so far, Rocket Man and Dance On By, have been disappointing.

Prompter would be a danger if he was allowed his own way in front. He went off too fast and didn’t settle at Epsom last time before he was collared by Dreamspeed, but he did run well when just caught by Morana in the Autumn Stakes at Ascot last October. However, with the easing of the ground and the movement of the rail, front-runners are not going to be as advantaged today as they were on Wednesday and Thursday.

The easing of the ground does temper enthusiasm for Azmeel, as a son of Azamour, but he doesn’t have a daisy-cutting action that absolutely needs top of the ground, and I am hopeful that he will be okay with just a little bit of cut. Nonetheless, he is a one-point bet rather than a two-point bet because of the ground.