Horses To Follow » Arzal


Arzal did well to finish as close as he did in the circumstances in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday.

Usually a front-runner, Harry Wittington’s horse was not helped by the delayed start. He missed the break as a result of the standing start, with the result that he was further back in the field than ideal. He just couldn’t get near the front.

His problems were compounded when Chieftain’s Choice fell in front of him at the fifth flight. Well back in the field, he had to swerve to his left to avoid the faller, and was almost stopped to a walk. He dropped back to be second last of the remaining 16 runners.

He came back on the bridle after that, however. He travelled well into the home straight in behind runners, and he made progress all the way up the home straight. Still no better than 12th or 13th jumping the second last, he picked up well from there and stayed on to take sixth. He did remarkably well to get as close as he did.

Arzal is only five and this was just his fourth run over hurdles. He got off the mark at Kempton in November, and he ran well for a long way when he finished third behind Jollyallan and Sempre Medici in a Class 2 contest back at Kempton on St Stephen’s Day. Jollyallan is now rated 151, so Arzal could be well handicapped on a mark of 139, especially if you factor in his potential for progression. He hails from a small yard, so it may be that the markets continue to under-rate him, but he will be really interesting now in another handicap hurdle off this mark. It is interesting that his trainer thought him good enough to enter him in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and in the Neptune.

7th February 2015