Horses To Follow » Maljaa


Maljaa put up an impressive performance to win the big five-furlong handicap at Haydock on Saturday, making just about all the running in a race that was run at a fast pace.

Quickly into his stride on the far side, Roger Varian’s horse was into a nice rhythm in the front line from early. He was hassled by Distant Past on his left and by Ballesteros on his right, but he never lost concentration, he retained his position in the front rank and, when Paul Hanagan asked him to pick up, he duly did so, putting a length between himself and his pursuers. Lexington Place looked a big danger inside the final furlong, as did Blithe Spirit, but Maljaa fought them all off bravely, and just had enough in reserve to withstand the late lunge of B Fifty Two. Lexington Place and B Fifty Two raced in second last and last places respectively through the early stages of the race, detached from the body of the field. The fact that the early pace was so fast meant that they were both able to make the late headway that they made. By contrast, Maljaa was up there with the early pace from flagfall. He wasn’t advantaged by the way the race was run, and he did really well to win in a good time, second fastest behind the Spring Cup on the day.

This was just the Paco Boy gelding’s seventh run ever. His record this season reads 32211, his last two victories now achieved since he has been fitted with blinkers. Even without the blinkers, however, he has progressed with each run this term, and there is every reason to believe that his upwards trajectory can be continued. The handicapper raised him 4lb to a mark of 102, and that is more than fair. Five furlongs is his trip, and he appears to be as happy on good or fast ground as he was with a cut in it on Saturday.

5th September 2015