Horses To Follow » Burj Nahar

Burj Nahar

Burj Nahar was a most taking winner of a Class 2 10-furlong handicap on Newmarket’s July Course on Saturday on his first run for nearly 20 months. Mickael Barzalona has shown repeatedly on his forays to British tracks this season that he is not averse to going against the grain and employing individual tactics, and he shone once again on Burj Nahar. He held his mount up a couple of lengths adrift at the back of the field early, obviously aware of how hard they were going up front, Classic Punch ensuring Udabaa went a good gallop to hold onto the lead. Down the straight, though, Barzalona made sure that he gave his mount every chance of getting into contention, taking him to the outside soon after they passed the half-mile point and starting to squeeze him along to get him competitive, anxious not to give the leaders too much rope. He kept the son of Shamardal out wide as he started to make progress, and, while he was entitled to get a little tired on his first run for such a long time, he ran straight to the line, not drifting under the whip or towards his rivals near the stands rail. Interestingly out in the centre was not where you wanted to be on the day, most of the winners came up the stands side, and the centre group in the Criterion Stakes could never get competitive with their rivals racing under the rail. Burj Nahar ran right past the leaders and into a three-length lead before he was eased close home. He is clearly a useful sort to put up this sort of effort off this strong a pace after such a long layoff.

Running off 95 here on just the second run of his life, he has been put up 7lb which is not overly punitive at all given his authority in the end and his scope for progression. He is in for a rise in class now though, according to connections, and he could well be up to making his mark at Group 3 level, if not above, before the season is out. He could need to be rested after this to ensure he doesn’t bounce next time, but he has huge potential for further progression now. A big, long-striding colt, he should improve for the step up to a mile and a half given how he came from well off the strong pace to be well on top at the finish, and that his dam, Melikah, was placed in the Oaks. She is in fact a half-sister to Sea The Stars and Galileo, so that gives an indication of how far Burj Nahar could go.

He had easily landed the odds on his debut in November 2009 in soft ground, and Ted Durcan, who rode him on debut, said afterwards that he had a great mindset for the job. It seems that he has always been highly regarded by Godolphin given how short he went off for that first run.

Saeed Bin Suroor has made an inauspicious start to the season, but his horses are just starting to run a bit better, this was his ninth winner of the season from 80 runners, and there could be even more improvement to come from Burj Nahar when the stable hits top form. He was weak in the market here too, so connections probably weren’t expecting him to put up such a dominant display first time back. He can do even better with this run under his belt as long as he is not rushed back to the track.

25th June 2011