Horses To Follow » Eshtibaak


There are a couple of reasons why Eshtibaak was probably slightly unfortunate not to win the Class 2 one-and-a-quarter-mile handicap at Chester last Thursday.

Firstly, the winner, Sir John Hawkwood was given a really good ride by Ryan Moore. Ridden along early, he managed to secure a good prominent position, which immediately nullified his wide draw and left him in a prime position throughout. Had Assizes pushed up on the rail nearing the winning line for the first time and taken a share of the lead with Area Fifty One, Sir John Hawkwood would have been trapped three horses wide and that may well have been too much ground for him to cover.

On top of that, Eshtibaak, drawn one place inside Sir John Hawkwood, was dropped in behind the main body of runners and didn’t really handle the track well. He looked a little uncomfortable through the first couple of furlongs, he was awkward around the first turn and he was further back than ideal from the outset.

Eshtibaak closed up on those in front of him after a few furlongs and appeared to be travelling easily after half a mile, but he still had plenty of horses around whom to navigate his way, and he had to make his ground around the home turn from quite a long way back. He did well, then, to stay on as well as he did up the home straight to be closest at the finish, just three quarters of a length behind the talented winner at the line.

John Gosden’s horse should be better back on a more conventional course and possibly even on easier ground – there was plenty of rain at Chester on Thursday but it probably hadn’t got into the ground all that much by the time of this race, the first on the card. He stayed this 10-furlong trip well, this trip on a more galloping course will probably be ideal, and he may even stay a mile and a half (he is a half-brother to Banoffee who won the Cheshire Oaks last week). There are plenty of options for him now, and he remains potentially well-handicapped on a mark in the mid-90s.

9th May 2013