Horses To Follow » Waltzing Matilda

Waltzing Matilda

Waltzing Matilda did well to get as close as she did in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot on Wednesday, and she is a filly to keep on side at least for now.

Chosen by rider Wayne Lordan over the shorter-priced Sudirman, on whom Lordan had won the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes last year, Waltzing Matilda was a big outsider in the race, but she was still solid enough in the pre-race market at around 33/1. She was settled towards the rear and towards the near side in the early stages of the race, she moved out to deliver her challenge at the two-furlong pole and, while she could not match the high-class Hamdan Al Maktoum pair Mustajeeb and Muwaary inside the final furlong, she kept on well to finish fifth, with a nice break back to the sixth and seventh horses.

This was a race that was dominated by those horses who raced handily. The first four home all raced up with the pace from flagfall, Tommy Stack’s filly – the only filly in the race – did best of those who raced in midfield or worse. Also, this looked like a red-hot Jersey Stakes. Mustajeeb had finished third in a hot Irish 2000 Guineas on his previous run, while Muwaary had finished fourth in the French Guineas after racing too freely. Those two horses fought out the finish, and the race was run in a good time.

This was just Waltzing Matilda’s third ever run, and it is significant that Tommy and Fozzy Stack decided to pitch her into a Jersey Stakes so early in her career. She is by Danehill Dancer, and she won her maiden on heavy ground, but she coped with Wednesday’s fast ground really well. On her last run before Ascot, she finished a close-up fourth behind Afternoon Sunlight in the Leopardstown Guineas Trial when she didn’t have the run of the race. Wednesday’s run was a marked step up on that performance.

She still has lots of scope for progression. While she handled the fast ground well on Wednesday, a move back to an easier surface would probably be in her favour, as would a step back up in trip to a mile or possibly even 10 furlongs. She is an exciting filly, and one in whom to be interested for her next few runs.

18th June 2014