Horses To Follow » Leqqaa


Leqqaa was palpably green on what was just his second start in the seven-furlong Trailfinders Conditions Stakes at Newbury on Saturday, but he ran a big race to just go under to the Richard Hannon-trained favourite Coupe De Ville. He was reluctant to load, then half fly-jumped as the stalls opened, and he veered left when he came under pressure in the race, but he still put in a taking performance.

The son of Street Cry did not have any cover in the early stages of the race, he raced on the stands side of the group, and had to be niggled from just inside the three-furlong marker. When Richard Hills gave him a couple of taps with his right hand, his mount edged left into the leader Shamrock, and it took him a little while to get on top of that one. When Coupe De Ville came there on the far side of Shamrock though, Leqqaa quickly left the third horse behind to throw down a big challenge to the favourite, only going down by a short head, but was narrowly in front a stride or two after the line, with the front pair having pulled two and a half lengths ahead of the third horse inside the last half furlong.

Leqqaa gave the distinct impression that he had a lot more to give and that he will turn out to be better than the winner in time. The winner did, after all, have more experience having run twice previously, and Hannon’s two-year-olds are often more forward than runners from other stables, including the Johnston stable, which is responsible for Leqqaa. Coupe De Ville is clearly well-regarded at the Hannon yard as he was the first string of the stable’s two runners on debut, and the other one, Chandlery, has subsequently finished second in the Group 2 July Stakes. Coupe De Ville was well backed again here. Leqqaa was strong enough himself in the market himself, which was significant even in the face of good support for the winner. On his only previous run, Leqqaa had impressed in pulling six lengths clear of his field, and he should improve considerably again with this experience under his belt. He is a half-brother to Zaham who was also trained by Johnston and who won the Hampton Court Stakes and finished second in two 12-furlong Group 3 races. Leqqaa is in the Royal Lodge and it is not difficult to envision him progressing enough for him to earn his place in races like that before the season is out. He should get a mile this year and he should be worth following.

16th July 2011