Horses To Follow » Karraar


Karraar did well to win the 10-furlong handicap at Sandown last Friday. It wasn’t ideal that William Haggas’ horse  was last of the six runners through the early stages of the race. Sandown is generally a front-runners’ track, and the advantage conferred on those horses who raced handily seemed to be even more pronounced than usual on Eclipse weekend.

Still last as they straightened up for home, about eight lengths off the pace-setting Tom Hark, Karraar started to pick up at the three-furlong pole when Paul Hanagan got after him and took him towards the outside. Still just fifth inside the two-furlong pole, and fully four lengths behind the leaders as they set sail for home, the Dubawi gelding stayed on gradually and powerfully down the outside, closed on Tom Hark and I’m Fraam Govan deep inside the final furlong and just put his nose in front on the line, coming out on top in a three-way photo, winning by a nose and a head.

Even though he just got home, it was still a fine effort from Karrar. Even if he had just failed, it would have been a big performance. The pace held up well at Sandown all weekend, and it was difficult for the hold-up horses to get involved, unless the leaders had gone bananas in front. Even here, Tom Hark led from early, I’m Fraam Govan raced in second place, and they were the other two horses involved in the photo, with Karraar, with the three of them clear.

Karraar did not win in his first seven attempts last year for Richard Hannon, but he won  his final race of the season,  a 12-furlong maiden at Thirsk when he made all the running. Saturday’s run was his seasonal debut, his first run for William Haggas and his first since being gelded, so there is every chance that there is natural progression forthcoming anyway. He should also be better stepped back up to 12 furlongs, and he should be even better on easier ground. Paul Hanagan said afterwards that he was feeling the ground a little through the early stages of the race, and it was notable that he picked up markedly when he met the rising ground. The handicapper raised him by just 3lb for this to a mark of 86, and that is more than fair. He has raced nine times now, he is starting to look exposed on the face of it, but there could be significant progression forthcoming, for his new trainer and now that he has been gelded, when he steps back up to a mile and a half or gets back on easier ground. He will be of interest wherever he runs next.

3rd July 2015