Horses To Follow » Ahtoug


The five-furlong handicap that rounded off the three-day King George meeting at Ascot on Sunday looked like a strong race. It was run in a good time, the winner Barnet Fair tends to run well at Ascot and the runner-up Steps is still a progressive sprinter. But just in behind them there was plenty to like about the performance that Ahtoug put up in finishing fourth.

Having just his second run back from a six-month break after racing once in Dubai in January, the Godolphin horse saw a lot of daylight early on, he was a little isolated between the two groups down the centre of the track for the first couple of furlongs. That was not ideal in a race in which the first and third were both covered up at the back of those racing down the centre until late on, and in which the runner-up was given a nice tow into the race by the other horse who stayed on the stands side. Ahtoug came under pressure passing halfway, most of those around him were going better with two furlongs to run, but he stuck on admirably to finish fourth on ground that had probably softened up a little more than ideal.

His first run back, two weeks prior to this, also over this course and distance in the handicap won by Masamah from Racy, was good too, and he should be close to peak fitness now with those two runs under his belt. He is developing into an Ascot horse, he runs well there, and he will be interesting whenever he returns to the Berkshire track. He should be better back on fast ground, his best form is on fast ground or Polytrack.

He will be interesting if he runs again in the Shergar Cup Dash, a race in which he was a close third off his current mark last season, although he could be worth stepping back up to six furlongs now given how well he stayed on here having come under pressure early. He is probably a little fragile, he hasn’t stood much racing over the past couple of seasons, but he remains a talented and potentially well-treated horse.

28th July 2013