Past Winners » Al Bandar


I am backing Al Bandar here. I thought that he would be a little shorter than he is.

He was progressive for Richard Hannon last season, he won his maiden nicely at Brighton, and he was only just touched off in a nursery at Yarmouth off a mark of 77. He ran okay on his debut this season, his debut for Simon Crisford, on easy ground at Ripon, but, back on faster ground, he stepped forward markedly on that run to finish third behind two exciting horses at Doncaster.

The winner, Always Smile, was completing her hat-trick, and was raised 8lb for that win, while the runner-up, Sahaafy, won a handicap at Newmarket last Saturday by five lengths off a 5lb higher mark, and is now rated 16lb higher than he was for the Doncaster race.

Al Bandar was beaten three parts of a length and two and a half lengths, but he gets to race off the same mark of 81, and that gives him a big chance. The fact that he won his maiden at Brighton augurs well for this downhill run, and Silvestre de Sousa, who rode him for the first time at Doncaster, takes the ride again.

I marked Goring down as a horse to note after his run at Haydock last time, when he chased a fast pace but still kept on well to finish second to the talented Mutarakez, but he was raised 4lb for that, and I thought that he would be a lot bigger than he is for this. He does not have as much scope for progression as Al Bandar has.

Make It Up is interesting, back over the course and distance over which he won his maiden last July, but he is short, and he has to give 16lb to Al Bandar.