Horses To Follow » Mataaleb


Mataaleb put up a really good performance when finishing second to Verdant, going down by the shortest of margins, in a 12-furlong handicap at Goodwood on Wednesday. He was well back in the field and he raced keenly enough early on, but still moved well at the three-furlong pole. He was travelling best of all two furlongs out and he found plenty, pulled widest of all, going down by just the bob of a head to the talented Verdant with the pair of them coming clear of another useful type in Contract Caterer, who seemed to have the run of the race just behind the pace, which wasn’t that strong.

Mataaleb is a 40,000gns Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum cast-off, and this was a cracking run on his first start for new trainer Jeff Pearce. It was a hot enough handicap, there was a lot of really progressive three-year-olds in behind and the time was good, it was the second fastest comparative time of the day, second only to the time posted by Canford Cliffs in the Sussex Stakes earlier on the card.

Mataaleb can only improve from here, this was only his fifth ever run. He is related to a number of high-class horses, including the Group 1 winner Almutawakel, and the change in scenery could prove to be a turning point for him. He will be of interest wherever he runs next.

28th July 2010