Horses To Follow » Shamali


Shamali’s win in the 10-furlong Listed Magnolia Stakes at Kempton on Saturday was all the more noteworthy given his trainer’s comments in the Racing Post that he would be staggered if Shamali were to win this as he would surely need the run. This was backed up apparently by his paddock appearance, he reportedly didn’t look well beforehand, and his real weakness in the market through the morning; he was William Haggas’s clear second string behind the favourite Penitent.

There were clearly few worries from the man on board with regards his fitness as, after a slow start from a wide draw, the horse was bustled right up to sit prominently just on the outside of the leader. Granted, that manoeuvre did give Shamali the run of the race off a slow enough pace – the first four home had filled the first four positions throughout – but he still picked up impressively in the straight and stuck on well to clock a fast time despite the seemingly slow early gallop, going 0.88 seconds under Racing Post standard.

The form looks strong enough with the second placed horse Resentful Angel – although starting at 25/1 and having the run of the race – an artificial surface expert who goes particularly well at Kempton, the third Pink Symphony having shown herself to be well up to Listed level last year, and the fourth, the favourite and winner’s stable companion Penitent, last year’s Lincoln winner, considered at least Listed class by connections even over the 10 furlongs of this contest.

Shamali looked right back to his best here. He was never really right last year, and he was off since last May with leg problems. The even surface here was considered preferable to other options and he let himself down fine on it, but it may be that it will be best to tread warily if he races on a very fast surface, especially on an undulating track. Providing he stays sound though, he should go on from this, as he has been gelded since he last ran and progeny of Selkirk can often come on for a gelding operation. He was an interesting horse early last season. He is six, but he has raced just 10 times in his life, and he is even more interesting now.

2nd April 2011