Horses To Follow » Emell


Emell was unlucky not to finish closer than he did in the seven-furlong handicap at Goodwood on Saturday. Richard Hannon’s horse travelled well through the race just behind the leaders, but he was checked in his run twice as Kieran O’Neill tried to deliver him with his challenge. You often have hard luck stories at Goodwood, and often horses are not as unlucky as it looks like they were, but Emell did appear to finish full of running. he was only beaten a total of two and a half lengths into fifth, and it is difficult to argue that he would not have been involved in the finish had he enjoyed normal luck in-running.

Second in the Free Handicap as a three-year-old, the Medicean gelding ran a cracker to finish runner-up to Bow Creek in the Group 2 Celebration Mile last August, in front of high-class horses like Captain Cat and Hors De Combat. He lost his way after that last season a little, and he was well beaten in the Lincoln on his debut this season. However, fitted with blinkers for the first time for his second run, he appeared to improve dramatically to run out a ready winner of a good seven-furlong handicap at Haydock. There is always a worry that blinkers will not work as well second time as they did first time, but he appeared to be running right up to his Haydock form on Saturday.

The handicapper raised him 8lb for that Haydock win, but it still only brings him up to a mark of 105, which is 2lb lower than his peak. He remains on that mark after last Saturday’s run and, on this evidence, that mark still under-rates him. He is in the Victoria Cup on Saturday, and he will be of interest if he takes his chance in that race, although it is a little bit of a worry that he has never run at Ascot before, a track at which course form is so important. He has put up two of the best runs of his life now on his two visits to Goodwood, so he will be of big interest in a big handicap at Glorious Goodwood this year. He does stay a mile, but seven furlongs appears to be his optimum trip.

2nd May 2015