Horses To Follow » Hamza


Kevin Ryan and Pat Smullen teamed up to win the Ayr Gold Cup with Captain Ramius on Saturday. Smullen also rode Hamza for Ryan in the Ayr Silver Cup and the three-year-old ran a cracker on ground that should have been softer than ideal.

The times at Ayr on Saturday indicated that the ground was good to soft, far better than the official description of heavy, but it still should have been too soft for Hamza, whose best form is all on fast ground. He led the far side group, showing a lot of pace, kicked on a furlong and a half out and looked like he would be quite hard to peg back on the far side. He was worn down by the really progressive and tenacious Highland Colori coming inside the final furlong, but he did well to stick on to be second of those to have raced on the far side, quite comfortably holding off the rest over there, and finishing sixth overall.

The middle of the course seemed the place to be at Ayr over the weekend, and Highland Colori ended up in the middle, together with the winner and the other three horses who filled the first five places, while Hamza stayed over on the far side the whole way, and that may have disadvantaged him. He was 6lb well-in here, but he hasn’t been raised any more for this performance, and he still has a lot of potential from a mark in the low 100s. He is unexposed, especially as a sprinter, and he may even be good enough to progress out of handicaps next season if he continues to improve at his current rate. In the short term, he will be of interest if he races on good or fast ground again before the end of the season.

22nd September 2012