With the turf season now over we shall have to wait until the spring to capitalise on Khajaaly’s recent revival on turf, where he remains on a handy mark, but yesterday he returned to Wolverhampton where he was re-united with Franny Norton who had won on him for us at Catterick. There were some alarm bells ringing before the race, as we had seen the eventual winner Corporal Maddox finishing like an aeroplane just three days earlier at Lingfield, coming from last to third in the final half furlong over a shorter trip. Yesterday there was no pace in the race, so this pretty much set things up for the well-handicapped Corporal Maddox who finished like a train once again, but Khajaaly performed very well in a race which was not run to suit him, just missing out on a podium finish and finishing fourth, but giving every sign that his turn will come again soon.
Khajaaly took a trip to Windsor yesterday and came an eye-catching fourth of 13 runners over an extended mile. Race plans had to change when Jimmy Quinn was held up by traffic on route from Lingfield to Windsor and just failed to get to the course in time, missing the deadline by only two minutes. Traffic problems were to be a feature of the day, as Daniel Muscutt found when he stepped in at the last minute to take the ride. Daniel did nothing wrong on Khajaaly, got him covered up and was travelling very nicely, but was stopped in his run two or three times when making his challenge in the closing stages, and couldn’t get a clear run till it was too late. Another stride or two and he would have been third, but the post came too soon. Without the traffic problems that is a race we could have won.
KHAJAALY, a multiple all weather winner, was sent off a well-backed favourite in the last race at Catterick. Despite having never scored on turf, we knew that conditions would be spot on for him here, where he ran a great race to be third just last month. Never far away from the leaders, Franny Norton produced him to challenge at just the right moment and he did enough to gain his first turf success to the delight of connections.
It took a couple of races for our trainer to get the measure of the gelding, but now we know what he needs, and he has won and been placed twice in his last three races on grass, and we will aim to find more opportunities for him before the turf season ends. He is in good heart, remains on a good handicap mark, and should continue to offer owners a great chance to get in the winners enclosure.
Two runners tomorrow – Khajaaly goes to Catterick and more rain wouldn’t hurt, while SunshineandBubbles makes her belated debut in a hot maiden at Wolverhampton. Godolphin have an unraced colt in that race that cost over half a million as a yearling. Hope it wasn’t worth the money!! Still time to get involved from only £120pm …..
A long trip up the motorway to Catterick yesterday, and we may have found the key to Khajaaly on turf. On soft ground, Joe Fanning held him up and brought him to challenge late, with a great run to take 3rd spot on the line, a nice each way pay off at 20/1 with some connections getting on at 28/1. We will be looking for similar races in the next few weeks, and Joe thinks he will get a mile on that surface. Plenty to look forward to but probably wont get anything like that price next time!
We also have the Firm entered for both Ffos Las and Chepstow next week, but we are hoping for no rain and good ground.
Our new purchase Khajaaly was collected from Mick Appleby’s yard yesterday and has started settling in at Butterton. He cantered nicely this morning and moved sweetly but he is certainly not “race fit”. Mick Appleby advised us that he hadn’t been ridden since his last outing in April, as his previous owners were in the process of winding up their syndicate. He will just be kept ticking over for the next week or so but it will take a little bit of work to be ready for racing – plans for an outing at Wolverhampton in early June have been put on the back burner, as he will need a bit longer than that to get back into condition, but there is no rush.