Horses To Follow » Nafaqa


Nafaqa did remarkably well to finish as close as he did in fourth place on his racecourse debut in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday. Reluctant to load before the race, the Barry Hills-trained colt was really slowly away. He was four lengths behind the second last horse before they had gone 50 yards. He did make up the ground to latch onto the back of the field after a furlong, and he travelled well through the race in among horses. He started to make nice ground from the three-furlong pole and, despite being impeded a little by Crown The Kitten as the American horse faded, he continued with his run all the way to the line.

He had no answer to the finishing surge of Richard Pankhurst on the near side, who was a revelation on his second run in his first-time hood, but he did keep on strongly on the far side – which was the unfavoured side on the straight track all week – to finish fourth, beaten a total of just over a length by Toscanini for second place.

Allowed go off at 40/1, despite the fact that he was Hamdan Al Maktoum’s only horse in the race, he obviously surprised connections and work-watchers with this performance, so there could be a fair bit more to come. This looked like a decent Chesham Stakes beforehand, and the second and third, Toscanini and Dick Whittington, provide solidity to the form. By Sir Percy out of a Mujahid mare who won over a mile, he shaped here as if he would benefit from going further than seven furlongs. It is interesting that he holds an entry in next year’s Derby and he will be interesting next time, especially if he is stepped up in trip.

21st June 2014