Horses To Follow » Xilerator


Xilerator put up an authoritative performance to win the Class 3 seven-furlong handicap at Ayr on Saturday. He seems to be at his best when able to dominate from the front, but he did this well. He travelled enthusiastically on the front end, he had all the others in trouble early in the home straight, and he drew away late on to record a five-length win, posting a good time in the process, the fastest comparative time on the day.

Dandy Nicholls’s horse probably benefitted from making the running here, there seemed to be an advantage to be gained from racing up with the pace (the second, Staff Sergeant, had raced in second throughout), but there is no doubt that Xilerator was the best horse in the race. The son of Arakan obviously handles this easy ground well, and while the handicapper has raised him 9lb for this, there could still be plenty more to come from him, he is fairly lightly-raced for a four-year-old.

He had also won by five lengths on his second start of the season at Newcastle, before two seemingly quite disappointing efforts subsequently. He may just have been affected by whatever has been troubling the Dandy Nicholls yard through the summer though, and he bounced back here in no uncertain terms. The Nicholls horses are running slightly better now than for much of the season, but they are still not all going great and, consequently, there may yet be more to come from Xilerator.

This seven furlongs is probably his trip, he hasn’t appeared to stay a mile on three tries at the trip in the past, but he wasn’t able to lead on the first two of them and he was taken on for the lead on his previous run at Ripon, so he is worth another chance at a mile. It may be that he simply needs to lead, or it may well be that he was suffering from something at the time of that last run. Interestingly, Nicholls said after this race that he thinks Xilerator will turn out to be a miler, he certainly wasn’t stopping at the end of the seven furlongs here. Although he is from the family of Tax Free and Inxile, two high class sprinters, he is by Arakan, the sire of Dick Turpin, and he has plenty of size about him.

Tax Free and Inxile both improved with age so, looking ahead, there is every reason to believe that Xilerator can go on next year. With his liking for cut in the ground, he could well be targeted at the Lincoln at the start of next season. In the shorter term, he remains interesting this autumn on soft ground. He may need to have his own way up front, but he is a talented individual when he does.

17th September 2011