Horses To Follow » Saint Dalina

Saint Dalina

Saint Dalina did well to stay on as well as she did to take third place in the three-mile handicap hurdle at Ascot on Saturday, coming from mid-division in a race in which, and on a day on which generally, it was probably an advantage to be prominent.

Weak in the market beforehand, Saint Dalina lined up in the front rank, but she missed the kick a bit. They went very fast very early, and she was worse than mid-division by the time they jumped the first flight and rounded the first turn.

She travelled well from there though, in mid-division, behind a good pace that J’Ai Froid and Fawsley Spirit set. She came under pressure on landing over the third last flight, but she found plenty for pressure. She moved in behind the two leaders along the inside as they rounded the home turn and, while she couldn’t get past either, she stayed on well on the far side all the way to the line to get to within two and a half lengths of the winner J’Ai Froid, just holding onto third place from Flight Deck.

It was a good run by Charlie Longsdon’s mare, coming from as far back as she did. The first two home, J’Ai Froid and Fawsley Spirit, occupied the first two places from flagfall, and Saint Dalina was the only one who threatened them in the home straight. Off the mark over hurdles at Ffos Las last March on her final run last season, she has progressed nicely this term, winning a handicap hurdle at Uttoxeter in December and running well to take fourth place in the Pertemps qualifier that Imperial Alcazar won at Warwick in January, racing from 4lb out of the handicap. The handicapper raised her to a mark of 122 after that, and she proved that she was up to that mark on Saturday, racing in cheekpieces for the first time. She probably wasn’t helped by the drying ground, but she is only seven, and there could be more to come from her now, ideally with cheekpieces retained. She goes well at Uttoxeter, on soft or heavy ground at Uttoxeter, so she will be of particular interest if she goes there on Midlands National day this year, a day on which the ground is often very soft.
Ascot, 20th February 2021