Horses To Follow » Nakeeta


Nakeeta put up a really good performance to finish second in the Chester Cup on Wednesday, going down by just a short head in the end to No Heretic.

Fast away from an awful draw in stall 15, just three from the outside, Iain Jardine’s horse was keen through the first few furlongs, and he was three horses wide around the first two turns, which really wasn’t ideal. Still keen down the viaduct side of the racecourse, he was three wide again around the top of the track and into the home straight first time.

Royston Ffrench took him back a little in order to try to get him to settle, or to get closer to the rail, but he wasn’t really able to do either. Almost four horse-widths wide going away from the stands final time, Nakeeta only really dropped the bridle as they raced down the back straight with five furlongs to run. He moved up as they started the run around the home turn, but he had to go four horses wide in order to do so. He came under pressure two and a half furlong out and he started to pick up. Five horses wide around the home turn, he picked up really well, with the eventual winner No Heretic on his immediate inside. He probably hit the front at the furlong pole but No Heretic came with him and he just gave best to Nicky Henderson’s horse inside the final 50 yards.

This was still a massive run from Nakeeta, given how poorly-drawn he was, how keen he was through the first half of the race, and how wide he raced throughout. The wide-drawn horses actually didn’t fare too badly in the Chester Cup this year, the fourth, fifth and sixth were drawn, respectively, 12, 17 and 16. But the first and third were drawn four and nine, and Nakeeta covered more ground than just about any other horse in the race, with the possible exception of Heartbreak City, who faded to finish 16th of the 17 runners.

Nakeeta was really progressive in the latter half of last season, finishing second twice in August before winning two big handicaps at Haydock over a mile and six furlongs. Rated 84 on the first occasion, he made light of a 5lb hike on the second, and he was rated 93 for Wednesday’s race, which he proved was well within his compass. He also proved that he could stay further than a mile and six furlongs, and that he could operate away from Haydock. He will obviously get another few pounds from the handicapper for this, but he continues to progress.

4th May 2016