Horses To Follow » Withernsea


Withernsea ran a lot better than the bare form of his run suggests in the seven-furlong handicap at York on Saturday.

Very weak in the pre-race market, perhaps because of concerns about the ground, which was very fast, he was held up through the early stages of the race in mid-division as Salateen and Alejandro disputed the running. He travelled well up the home straight, but Tony Hamilton couldn’t get a gap to go forward when he wanted to. He had to sit and suffer as Salateen kicked for home from the front. Short of room at the furlong pole, when he was still not better than ninth or 10th, and five or six lengths behind the leader, he moved to the near side and eventually got out. When he did, he ran on, but he was always among traffic. Even so, he stayed on best of all, from seventh or eighth with 100 yards to run, to finish fifth, five lengths behind the winner.

This was a fine run from Richard Fahey’s horse on ground that should have been too fast for him. He was disappointing on his previous run, which was at York on his favoured easy ground, but that was his first run in two months, perhaps he lacked race fitness. This was much more like it. He is a talented horse, he was progressive last year on easy ground in the autumn, and there is every chance that he will be able to continue that progression now this season when the ground gets softer again.

The handicapper dropped him 1lb to a mark of 88 for this, and that is a fair mark, it is just 1lb higher than the mark off which he finished second in a decent six-furlong handicap at Newcastle in April, just a neck behind Arctic Feeling. He could be better over seven furlongs now than he is over six, and he will be of interest now in a seven-furlong handicap on easy ground, ideally at Doncaster, where he has put up two of the best performances of his career to date.

25th July 2015