Horses To Follow » Wadi Al Hattawi

Wadi Al Hattawi

Wadi Al Hattawi put up a really likeable performance to land the one-and-a-half-mile handicap at York on Saturday. Drawn widest of all, 17 of 17 declarations, 15 of 15 runners, the Godolphin horse was four or five horse-widths wide and in mid-division rounding the first turn. Three or four horses wide all the way around the home turn, he travelled well into the home straight, moved up to join the front rank at the three furlong pole, and kicked for home from there, almost three furlongs out. He was three or four lengths clear by the time they reached the two-furlong pole, but that is still a long way from home on easy-ish ground at York. He did appear to idle and tire, and he drifted to his left a little as High Office and Allnecessaryforce kept on well down the near side, but, in truth, it never really looked like they were going to catch Saeed Bin Suroor’s horse, and he kept on gamely to win by just over a length.

This was a fine run by the winner. He did appear to tire close home, but he was entitled to tire, given the energy that he expended in bounding clear of his field so early in the home straight. The injection of pace that he produced at that point was the injection of pace of a horse who was better than this grade by a fair way. Also, this was his seasonal debut, it was his first run since last September, so it is understandable that he would tire a little close home given that he lacked match practice. The Dalakhani gelding can probably be marked up at least a little on the bare form of the performance. His wide draw was not an advantage, he did concede ground by racing wide all the way around the home turn, and if his rider had held onto him for a little longer, he probably would have won by further. He came clear of the horses who raced down the centre of the track with him, and it was left to the two horses who raced down the stands side to chase him home. Also, the winning time was really good, the fastest comparative time of the day and just 0.34secs/furlong slower than standard.

The handicapper has raised Wadi Al Hattawi by 11lb, but that still leaves him on a mark of 99, and he still has the potential to surpass that mark by a fair way. It was a little disappointing that he couldn’t win last year as a three-year-old after winning his maiden on his only run at two, but he did shape with a degree of promise on a couple of occasions last season. This was just the sixth run of his life, so he still has plenty of scope to progress further.

The Ebor is the obvious race for him now, given that he has proven himself at York, where course form is really important, and that he shapes as if a step up to a mile and six furlongs could bring about even further improvement. He could be a horse for Royal Ascot not though, perhaps for the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap. He seems to handle all types of ground, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next.

31st May 2014