Horses To Follow » Estidhkaar


Estidhkaar shaped with a lot of promise in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville on Sunday on his first run since he finished well down the field in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May.

Settled nicely just behind the leaders by Paul Hanagan through the early stages of the race, the Dark Angel colt moved easily up on the near side of his half-brother Toormore at the two-furlong pole and eased his way to the front. It looked like he was full of running at that point but, when Hanagan asked him to pick up, he floundered and allowed the pursuers close in around him. The race developed away from him on the far side, with Esoterique getting the better of Territories, and Estidhkaar ultimately faded to finish eighth of the nine runners, but he travelled and raced like a high-class horse in high-class company for a long way. He ran a lot better than his finishing position suggests, and he is worth another chance now.

It is probable that lack of race fitness, combined with the testing ground, made this too great a test for the Richard Hannon-trained colt over a mile. He has never won over the trip, but connections have always felt that he would get it, and he shaped in the Greenham Stakes on his debut this season over seven furlongs that he would appreciate a step up. He deserves another chance at the trip.

He finished second to Muhaarar in the Greenham, going down by just a neck, and that obviously looks like top class form now in light of his fellow Sheikh Hamdan-owned colt’s subsequent triple Group 1-winning exploits. He was a top class juvenile last season, he won the Superlative Stakes and the Champagne Stakes, and he was sent off a warm favourite for the Dewhurst. His run in the Greenham proved that he had trained on at three, and he is deserving of another chance now in light of this run. He may be under-rated now because the form book says that he finished second last.

Even though he was beaten here and in the Dewhurst on soft ground, he does handle easy ground, he won the Superlative Stakes on easy ground and, after he had disappointed in the Guineas, Paul Hanagan said that the ground was too quick for him. That makes him interesting as we move into the autumn. He holds an entry in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood at the end of this month, and he will be of interest if he lines up in that. Indeed, he will be of interest wherever he goes next.


16th August 2015