Horses To Follow » Albaqaa


Albaqaa is worth following again now after a really encouraging run in the one-mile Coral Challenge Handicap at Sandown on Saturday.

He was drawn widest of all and missed the kick, so he was tucked in and held right up. He was second last at the top of the home straight and he was nearest the rail once they came across to the near side in the home straight, but he was checked against the rail by a bit of bunching in front of him just as the pace was lifting. That left him last with two furlongs to run, but he stayed on really strongly in between horses once he was switched off the rail to finish best of all and just miss out on third place, even though he only finished fifth. They appeared to go fast enough here but the pace held up well so Albaqaa wasn’t obviously advantaged by being held up. On another day he may well have finished second or third.

P J O’Gorman’s horse hit form last July, winning at Newmarket’s July meeting at 50/1 having shown very little in three runs earlier in the year, and followed that up with a win in an apprentice race at Glorious Goodwood, and he looks to be running right back into form now at the same time this year.

His handicap mark had really suffered for finishing fourth in a good renewal of the Group 3 Darley Stakes in October, but he has been edging down the handicap this season. He had taken the eye on his previous run too, in the Royal Hunt Cup, where he was continually denied a clear run and ended up having to challenge right on the far side despite being drawn towards the near side in stall 19. He finished only 13th at Ascot but would have finished much closer with a clearer run. He was dropped 2lb for that, he ran off 93 here, that is only 6lb higher than the second of his two wins last summer and is 2lb below his highest winning mark of 95, gained in April 2010.

He is capable of winning again now, he continues to be under-rated, and he could probably do with a step up in trip from a mile, he stays nine and 10 furlongs well. He won twice in July last year and it should be worth looking out for him over the next few weeks.

7th July 2012