Horses To Follow » Suraj


As things turned out, Suraj had very little in his favour in the Class 2 two-mile handicap at York last Wednesday. He was slowly away and required rousting early on, but his rider wanted to be up the inside rather than trying to improve out wide going into the first turn, so he had to sit out the back. The pace wasn’t strong and he wasn’t well placed at all, he was still last turning for home. He moved to the outside around the home turn and he improved a little early in the home straight, but his rider wasn’t hard on him at all once it looked improbable that he could win. Admittedly he wasn’t suited by racing out the back off a sedate pace, but he was only a couple of lengths behind the eventual first and second when his rider sat up two and a half furlongs out. Maybe the ground was too fast and he was looking after the horse for another day, he only gave him one backhand flick of the whip.

Things just haven’t gone right for Suraj at all this season, but he continues to shape like a well-handicapped horse, and he continues to drop in the handicap. He shaped miles better than the bare result in the Chester Cup on his first run of the season. He travelled powerfully in last place that day, he was still going strongly three furlongs out, but again they hadn’t gone very fast, and it was very difficult to make ground from the rear around Chester, especially as he is a galloper rather than a quickener.

He didn’t settle off the pedestrian gallop in the Ascot Stakes on his next run, but he shaped nicely again on his penultimate run at Glorious Goodwood, when he stayed on well from out the back in the race that George Baker totally controlled from the front aboard Harris Tweed.

That Goodwood race was over a mile and three quarters, which is a bare minimum for Suraj, but it was on the easy ground on which he is probably best, and he will be of interest again now when the ground gets soft again. He is a strong stayer, he is much better coming off a strong gallop, and so the Cesarewitch would be an interesting race for him now, especially if the ground came up on the easy side, which is more than possible. Also, the marathon trip should be ideal and he should get a solid gallop at which to run.

Having been dropped 2lb in the handicap again after this latest run, he is now just 3lb above the mark off which he was an emphatic winner at Doncaster last season and, a half-brother to Indian Ink and a full brother to St Leger hopeful Feel Like Dancing, he has lots of scope off this mark when he has conditions in his favour again.

21st August 2014