Horses To Follow » Elyaadi


Elyaadi ran a remarkable race to finish second in the Ascot Stakes, the two-and-a-half-mile marathon, at Ascot on Tuesday. Intentionally slowly away and moved over to the inside rail behind the field by Fran Berry, the John Queally-trained mare raced last of the 20 runners until they passed the four-furlong marker, and was still second last as they began the turn for home, about 15 lengths behind the leader Junior. She picked up well from that point, moved up nicely around the outside and made relentless progress among horses all the way up the home straight to just nick second place on the line, six lengths behind all-the-way winner Junior.

The daughter of Singspiel was unlucky that Junior kept on so well. That David Pipe-trained gelding is a three-mile chaser, stamina is his forte, but it is not often that a horse can make all over Ascot’s marathon trips. If Junior hadn’t been in the race, or if he had faded up the home straight as a lot of front-runners do, especially when they set a pace as strong as Junior did, she would have been a widely-acclaimed winner of the Ascot Stakes. Even as it was, she made up about 10 lengths on Aaim To Prosper and Ghimaar from the top of the home straight two and a half furlongs out to get up and do them for the runner-up spot.

Elyaadi improved as last season progressed, her first season with John Queally, before she disappointed on soft ground at Wexford in October. She looked very good on her debut this season, however, in one of the Flat versus National Hunt Jockeys Challenge races over a mile and six furlongs, when she came from well back to get up and beat Essex and Zarinava well in the end. She raced off a mark of 83 that day, she was off 94 on Tuesday, 11lb higher, but she coped admirably with the higher mark. She is progressing now, and she could be one for the Goodwood Stakes, the two-mile-five-furlong handicap at Glorious Goodwood that was won by another staying dual-purpose mare, Sweetheart, last year.

12th June 2010

© The Irish Field, 19th June 2010