Horses To Follow » Sheikhzayedroad


Mentioned here after he won a handicap at Epsom on Derby day, Sheikhzayedroad just hasn’t stopped improving since his debut last April and he progressed again on his first step out of handicaps in the Glorious Stakes at Goodwood last Friday.

He was a little unlucky in finishing third to Forgotten Voice, to whom he had finished a close second in receipt of 4lb in the Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot on his previous run. Held up last of the six runners by his regular pilot Martin Lane, he tracked Forgotten Voice the whole way, but, whereas Lane wanted him to challenge down the outside of the field, the horse was wanting to hang to his right in behind horses all the way down the home straight and eventually forced Lane to switch inside and try to come between horses. He ended up right down on the far rail and improved in good style from a furlong and a half out, but he ran out of room just over half a furlong from home as Forgotten Voice, who was still just ahead of him, edged towards the far rail and closed the door between him and the leader Lost In The Moment. Lane had to snatch up and stop riding for eight or 10 strides, and he was still only beaten two lengths.

It did take him a little while to pick up and hit top stride here, this mile and a half is probably a minimum for him now, especially on a downhill track. He had done really well to get as close as he did over a mile and a quarter in the Wolferton, and it could be worth stepping him up in trip and shooting for the Ebor now. He did hang down the camber here, as he had done at Epsom, so he could be even better-suited by the flat track at York. Also, his hold-up style should be well suited to an Ebor as they usually get racing from a long way out over middle distances at York in general and in the Ebor in particular.

The David Simcock-trained gelding could still be a well-handicapped horse on a mark of 104, the two horses who beat him here were both rated 110 and he has been raised to a mark of 106, but he will be able to race off 104 in the Ebor as it is an early-closing race, and he didn’t win, so he won’t carry a penalty if he does take his chance in the York race.

2nd August 2013