Horses To Follow » Alkasser


Alkasser put up a really taking performance to win the Listed Tetrarch Stakes at The Curragh on Monday.

Taken back in the early strides of the race by Leigh Roche, deputising for the suspended Pat Smullen, the Dermot Weld-trained colt travelled nicely just behind the leaders on the far side through the middle section of the race. All his rivals were hard at work as they moved inside the two-furlong market, but Roche sat motionless on Alkasser, who appeared to make his ground fairly effortlessly to move in behind the leader Focus On Venice. Indeed, the rider did not ask his horse for his effort until after they had reached the furlong pole, by which stage he had moved into second place, just a length behind the leader.

The response when he was asked for his effort was impressive, if not instant. Hamdan Al Maktoum’s colt gradually wore down his rival, hit the front 100 yards from home and went on to win by three parts of a length, probably helped by the loose Gold Peregrine who raced with him towards the stands side.

This was a fine performance from the Shamardal colt. This was a good race, as the Tetrarch Stakes usually is, he was relatively weak in the market, and the leader was not stopping. Jim Bolger’s horse ran all the way to the line to retain second place, and the winner had to battle to get past him. In so doing, he displayed a willing attitude that should stand to him as he gains in experience and moves up in grade.

This was just Alkasser’s third ever run. Unraced as a juvenile, he was desperately disappointing on his racecourse debut at The Curragh’s opening meeting in March this year, when he finished last of 10 runners in a one-mile maiden. But that was on heavy ground, and he quickly made amends when he won a six-furlong maiden at Cork four weeks later by six lengths on better ground. He was impressive that day, and the runner-up, Champagne Or Water, won an auction maiden at Sligo on Sunday by eight lengths.

Obviously, this was a massive step up on that win, and Hamdan Al Maktoum’s colt should be able to go on again from this. He is from a sprinting family, his dam won over five furlongs and is a half-sister to top sprinter Dandy Man and from the family of Lady Alexander, but he saw this seven-furlong trip out well, and he shaped as if he could get a mile. He does have an entry in the Irish 2000 Guineas, and he would be really interesting if he took his chance in that. However, it may be that seven furlongs proves to be his absolute optimum trip this season. If the Irish Guineas plan does not work out, the Jersey Stakes over seven furlongs at Royal Ascot would be an interesting target for him, but he will be of interest wherever he goes next.

5th May 2014