4:00 – Sandown – JOHN DUNLOP FORTUNE STAKES (LISTED RACE) (CLASS 1) (3yo+) Good To Firm 1m14y
Tazahum has come back into form with his last two runs and dropping back down into Listed class will assist his cause running over a course and distance which suits him. Sir Michael Stoute’s 4 year old bay colt sets the standard today on Official Ratings and on the back of a reasonable effort in a Group 3 race last time out looks set to run well.
Tazahum is lightly raced having run just 12 times in his career to date. He has won 4 of his starts and has been placed twice, so has a decent win and place strike rate. He has run four times this season and in keeping with the rest of Sir Michael Stoute’s yard, his runs in April and July were below par when he ran over distances of 1 mile 1 furlong and 1 mile 2 furlongs. However, he came back into form at Newmarket in August when he was dropped down in class and trip. He ran in a Class 2 Conditions Stakes over 1 mile, in a race which turned into a tactical affair with the winning time over 4 seconds slower than the standard time at the course. Paul Hanagan always had Tazahum prominent and took the initiative by kicking for home over 2 furlongs out and the horse ran on well inside the final furlong to win by 1 ¾ lengths. With the race only attracting 5 runners and the fact it was run at such a slow pace it would be dangerous to take the form to seriously. However, Tazahum has now won twice in 5 runner fields and with the champion jockey making the right decisions at the right time – as usual – it was a well thought out win.
Tazahum’s last win came at York during last month’s Ebor Meeting when he ran in the Group 3 Strensall Stakes over 1 mile 1 furlong. He ran as well as anything to get into contention, but weakened inside the final furlong suggesting that Group company is just a bit to hot for him, finishing 3rd of the 7 runners by 1 ½ lengths.
He drops down in trip to 1 mile again today which appears to be his ideal trip. He has run over 1 mile five times and has won on three occasions. Moreover, he has won over course and distance at Sandown on both occasions that he has run here over the trip.
A possible chink in his armour today comes with the Good to Firm going. Tazahum is unplaced on two runs in Good to Firm ground, but he ran once at Goodwood in the ground and it is possible that he did not take to the course and his other run in Good to Firm came in a Group 2 race. However, the Racecourse Association gave the going at Good to Firm, Good in Places at 6:52 this morning which will assist Tazahum who has won twice and been placed once in Good ground. He has also won on the all weather polytrack surface at Kempton so the ground should not really be an excuse today.
Paul Hanagan who is retained to ride Hamdam Al Maktoum’s horse rides again today and with another 5 runner tactical race in the offing is the man to have onboard.
With his yard back in decent form and with both the drop back down in trip and class in his favour Tazahum is the worthy favourite today. He has winning form over course and distance and runs well in small fields. Tazahum and Paul Hanagan look to be the perfect combination today and therefore Tazahum is confidently expected to win.