Horses To Follow » Al Zir

Al Zir

There should be a lot more to come from Al Zir, who ran a cracker to finish third in a 10-furlong conditions race at Doncaster on Wednesday on his first start in 96 days. The Godolphin colt had been unruly in the paddock beforehand and he sweated up quite badly, so it wasn’t a surprise that Frankie Dettori had a hard time settling him early on. He came under pressure fairly early on in the home straight and Dettori had to nudge him along just to hold his position, it looked as though he was going to get swallowed up, but he stayed on well to retain third spot behind Myplacelater and Wigmore Hall, going down by just three parts of a length in the end.

A son of Medaglia D’Oro, Al Zir was a top class two-year-old, he won his first two races and he finished third behind St Nicholas Abbey and Elusive Pimpernel in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy on his third and final run last season, but he is a big scopey individual who has yet to fully fill out his frame. It may be that we have yet to see the best of him physically. Ninth in the Guineas and sixth in the Derby on his only two previous runs this season, it was notable that trainer Saeed Bin Suroor said after the Derby that he would be much better in time. Although he was a fairly solid and well-supported favourite here, it was his first run in 96 days, and the omens weren’t good beforehand. He went off so hard early on that the bit actually slipped through his mouth. Given all of that, and given how worked up he got beforehand, he probably did really well to finish as close as he did.

He could be worth following from here, he may be getting unpopular now after three defeats in three runs this term to date, there may be a feeling that he hasn’t trained on. He will be of interest if he takes his chance in the Champion Stakes, he could be allowed go off at a decent price, and he could still be a top older horse next season.

8th September 2010