Horses To Follow » Zain Al Boldan

Zain Al Boldan

Zain Al Boldan was mightily impressive in winning the Lingfield Oaks Trial on Saturday. It wasn’t the greatest renewal of the race ever, but she could hardly have been more impressive.

Settled well back on the outside, she made ground coming down the hill turning for home but was still a good five lengths off the leader as they levelled for home. Sam Hitchcott gave her a squeeze at the top of the straight and she responded immediately, coming right back onto the bridle and easily closing the gap on Field Of Miracles. She was in front before the two-furlong marker and simply pulled further and further clear to win by six lengths, a margin that could have been extended had Hitchcott wanted to.

She has clearly come on a ton from her reappearance at Folkestone where she was very green, hanging left round the home turn and most of the way up the straight. When she got balanced late on there, she really picked up takingly to catch the leader under just hands and heels inside the last half-furlong. She seemed a completely different horse here as there were no traces of that wayward tendency, she handled the hill very well and only had to be niggled briefly early in the straight to pick up the leader. The left-hand track may have helped her, but it seems she has just progressed really nicely from that last run. Admittedly the bare form probably isn’t worth a great deal, the now fairly exposed 94-rated Date With Destiny in third puts the form in perspective in terms of the Oaks itself, but the winner has any amount of potential. The very fact that Mick Channon brought her here off a mark of just 78 shows how her connections thought she was capable of a big step up.

She is now unbeaten in three runs and, while Brighton and Folkestone aren’t your usual steps to Epsom, she is entitled to take her chance in the Oaks now on the back of this. While the recent record of the Lingfield Derby trial as a stepping stone to Epsom is poor, the Oaks trial has fared much better with three fillies, User Friendly, Lady Carla and Ramruma, doing the double in the last 20 years, while Look Here won at Epsom having finished second at Lingfield and the 2009 winner Midday went down by just a head in the Oaks. Zain Al Boldan should progress again from this, she has been committed to running at Epsom and must have decent chance in an open year.

7th May 2011