Horses To Follow » Mustajeeb


Mustajeeb put up a really impressive performance to win the Group 3 Amethyst Stakes at Leopardstown on Sunday. Held up out the back in the early stages by Pat Smullen, the Dermot Weld-trained colt picked up impressively from the two-furlong pole, joined Brendan Bracken just inside the furlong pole and came away to win easily, beating a talented older rival by two and a half lengths, the pair of them clear.

This was a fine performance by Mustajeeb, a three-year-old against older horses. The Amethyst Stakes is not a good race for the Classic generation, it hadn’t been won by a three-year-old in the previous 10 years. In fairness, not many have tried in that time, but those who have have come up short. Billyford finished sixth of six as the 3/1 third favourite in 2008, Perfect Memory finished fifth and Violets Empire finished sixth of seven in 2005, and the three-year-old Meath was beaten as the 8/11 favourite in the race by D’Anjou in 2004. Meath had been beaten just a head by Grey Swallow on his previous run in the 2000 Guineas Trial, and he won the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes on his next run, he was a high-class three-year-old who was in form. All of that evidence strongly supports the hypothesis that the Amethyst Stakes is not an easy race for three-year-olds.

Mustajeeb was the only three-year-old in this year’s renewal. He was racing for just the fourth time in his life, and he was making his seasonal debut, so it is probable that he will improve for this run, possible significantly. Second to War Command in the Group 2 Futurity Stakes last August on his third and final run as a juvenile when ridden aggressively, he seemed to enjoy the more patient tactics that Pat Smullen adopted on Sunday. Also, he saw out the mile well on his first attempt at the trip.

He is entered in the Irish 2000 Guineas, and he would be well worth his place in the Classic, notwithstanding the fact that his connections – Dermot Weld/Hamdan Al Maktoum – could also be represented by another talented sort in Alkasser in that race. If Mustajeeb misses the Irish Guineas, he will be of interest wherever he goes next.

11th May 2014