Horses To Follow » Sheikhzayedroad


Sheikhzayedroad came from last to first to win the one-and-a-half-mile handicap on Derby day at Epsom on Saturday impressively, despite hanging down the camber all the way to the line.

Immediately dropped in from his wide draw on this first attempt at a mile and a half, David Simcock’s horse travelled smoothly in rear, eased closer around Tattenham Corner, and improved past horses widest of all three furlongs out. As soon as he got past the widest runners, however, he started to edge markedly to his left. He didn’t do the eventual runner-up Duke Of Clarence too many favours two furlongs out, but he was going forward much quicker than that rival at the time and, despite hanging in behind the leader, rider Martin Lane was able to pull him out over a furlong from home. Once back in the clear, he readily went past the leader Colinca’s Lad and drew clear to win by over three lengths.

The pace was strong, Colinca’s Lad led from an early stage and raced clear by halfway, but the fact that the leader, a 33/1 shot, was able to hold on well for third suggests that there was no advantage to be gained from being held up out the back. Several other horses who were held up didn’t manage to get involved.

It is likely that Sheikhzayedroad has just improved for the step up in trip. He threatened more than he delivered last season but he is really progressive now. He has won two of his three races this season really impressively, and he was only beaten by a similarly progressive horse ion Educate who probably handled the soft ground better than he did on his other run.

A son of Dubawi, he has always been a little quirky, he hung quite badly on a couple of occasions last season, but he was more straightforward when winning at Doncaster on his reappearance and he could be even better now back on a more conventional track. The Duke of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot would be the obvious race for him now from his new mark of 101. It is possible that Ascot may not be the track for him, right-handed with its relatively short home straight, but he will be worth a second look wherever he runs next.

1st June 2013