Horses To Follow » Dhaular Dhar

Dhaular Dhar

Dhaular Dhar put up a smart performance to win a Class 2 nine-furlong handicap at Musselburgh on Friday, his first attempt on the flat at a distance in excess of a mile for five years. He has been very competitive in some big seven-furlong handicaps in his time, with placed efforts to his name in the Bunbury Cup, the Victoria Cup and the Buckingham Palace among others, as well as some decent efforts over six furlongs, including a close-up fourth placing in a listed race. He probably doesn’t have the speed for those distances any more, so it was well worthwhile to see if he could improve over a slightly longer distance, and it looks like he did.

Slowly away, he was keen through the early stages of the race, which was understandable, given that they were going a stride or so slower than he is obviously used to over six or seven furlongs, but he picked up nicely down the middle of the track in the home straight. He and the bang in form Smarty Socks had it between them inside the final 200 yards, but Dhaular Dhar stayed on just the stronger.

He probably benefited from staying slightly towards the far side, getting a nice gap between horses whereas Smarty Socks had to come wider and deliver his challenge down the centre of the track, but Dhaular Dhar still did well to out-battle David O’Meara’s gelding with the pair of them finishing clear of their rivals.

Dhaular Dhar hadn’t won since May 2008, and he should be able to go on from this now over this longer trip despite the fact that he is now eight and this was his 76th run. He had been lightly raced this term though, with this being only his fourth run of the season and his second run back after a short break since May. Given the fact that he probably needed his previous run, he has now put two good efforts together and, on this evidence, he should be able to get 10 furlongs, so strongly was he staying on at the end. He should do even better if he learns to accept the slower pace of these longer races and settles better. He was racing off a mark of 85 here, and the handicapper has raised him just 5lb to a mark of 90, which may give plenty of scope for further success at this type of distance, given that he was rated 100 in his pomp and has won off 94. Interestingly, he was given a run over hurdles last December in which he finished a highly credible second, and if sent over timber again this winter, he could be well worth watching.

3rd September 2010