Horses To Follow » Ajjaadd


Although only fourth in the Piper Heidsieck Champagne Handicap over five furlongs at Sandown on Saturday, Ajjaadd put up just as good a performance as when winning the race last year.

He showed a lot of pace to get across and sit handily from a wide draw in stall 12. He couldn’t get right across to the rail, though, with West Coast Dream and The Thrill Is Gone showing plenty of pace from lower draws, and that counted against him as he was wider than ideal throughout. He was still right there a furlong out, at which point the winner Edge Closer – who had been in the perfect position tracking West Coast Dream through tight against the far rail – burst through and quickly put the race to bed. Ajjaadd kept on remarkably well in the circumstances, and it was understandable that he had nothing left to give in the final 50 yards.

The other three horses to have shown pace from wide draws faded to finish ninth, 10th and 12th of 14, while the first three home were drawn in stalls one, three and two respectively, which puts Ajjaadd’s performance in finishing fourth from stall 12 into context.

On top of that, the ground may just have been a little fast for Ted Powell’s horse – it was soft ground when he won this race in 2011 (when he was also drawn wide). He was racing here off a 9lb higher mark than last year, but on this evidence there are more races in him off this sort of mark, although he may have to wait until deeper into the autumn when the ground eases again.

1st September 2012