Horses To Follow » Gwafa


Gwafa was another horse to take out of the good 12-furlong handicap at Ascot on Saturday, Maco Botti’s horse doing really well to split the talented pair Battersea and Agent Murphy.

Fast away from his outside draw in stall 10, it was apparent from early that Colm O’Donoghue wanted to go forward in order that he could tuck in close to the inside rail and avoid racing wide, which made perfect sense. As a result, however, he ended up racing handily, just behind the leaders, in a race in which, with the benefit of hindsight, it was probably an advantage to be held up. Six of the first eight home were held up, while Astronereus, who finished fourth, raced just behind Gwafa after they had gone three furlongs.

Gwafa raced wide along the outside through the first three furlongs, then moved up again to tuck in behind the leading trio as they passed the mile pole. The three horses who led ended up finishing 13th, 15th and 18th of the 18 runners, they obviously went too fast too early, and Gwafa tracked them. As it turned out, it was never going to be easy for him from such a prominent early position.

He did well to travel as well as he did into the home straight, he hit the front just outside the two-furlong pole and he kept on really well all the way to the line, giving best only to the highly talented and progressive Battersea, and keeping on well enough to hold onto second place from the progressive Agent Murphy.

A son of Tamayuz, Gwafa is talented and progressive himself. This was just his fifth ever run. Unraced as a juvenile, he has now finished first or second in his last four runs, and he continues to progress. Saturday’s run was probably the best of his life, and he should be able to improve again for it.

The handicapper has raised him 5lb to a mark of 92, but that is not harsh, it would be surprising if he didn’t progress to be better than a 92-rated horse, and he will be of interest wherever he runs next. He is entered in the Long Distance Cup, and he will be an interesting outsider if he takes his chance in that, back at Ascot and stepped up in trip. This race was won by last year’s Lonsdale Cup winner Ahzeemah in 2012, so there is a precedent there for horses stepping out of handicap company from this race into Pattern company.

6th September 2014