Racing: Oxx rates Alamshar equal to Arc winner Sinndar

Richard Edmondson
Thursday 26 September 2013 05:50

So now we have another superhorse, ephemeral as he may be. Alamshar is now king of all he surveys, so much better than the previously disgraced three-year-old station he was representing in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, so much better than the older generation massed against him.

We, the British, should appreciate what happened at Ascot on Saturday because there is unlikely to be a repetition. Alamshar will next run in the Irish Champion Stakes over 10 furlongs of Leopardstown on 6 September. The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe would be the natural progression after that, but the Aga Khan, his owner, already has Dalakhani pencilled in for that assignment and the routinely soft ground of October Longchamp would not suit Alamshar.

The Aga is not renown for extending the careers of his good horses into a third racing season. So anything but victory at Leopardstown and Alamshar could be off. There could be Santa Anita and the Breeders' Cup Series in the autumn. Yet it is unlikely a British audience will ever see him again. We will just have to bathe in the excellence of the weekend.

John Oxx, Alamshar's trainer, did the same at the weekend, but, like the few cerebral men of his trade, the mind was racing ahead. Alamshar may have been on the go since there were snowmen on the ground, but he has become so good at his chosen profession that the show must now go on. Until he drops.

Oxx knows there will be a stinker thrown in some day, when the time arrives for the rubber band to break, but Saturday was not the moment to think of the terminus. The journey itself is proving quite thrilling.

"A horse like this can never wind down," Oxx said. "He'll have a break from fast work, but he'll canter every day. It does them no good to get easy days. They're athletes, they have to train, and there's no time for a break. That's why you can't go on forever with them. But I don't think I've had a horse that's put in a better performance than that today."

Alamshar has had his physical problems, but, on song, he is a formidable animal. One to compare with Sinndar, who won the Derby, the Irish version and the Arc during the millennium. "They're both consistent athletes," Oxx said. "They're healthy and they've got a constitution. They're genuine and then there's the courage that separates those sort of horses from the rest."

Alamshar was no oil painting in the preliminaries on Saturday, an unimpressive little thing among the more muscled physiques of the likes of Nayef. Grandera, with his muttonchop cheekpieces, looked as if he belonged to a different era. So, it transpired, does his decent form.

Nayef had an admirable aura. He was tall and handsome, while Sulamani was smallish and lean with his tongue lolling. He was not a vision for the purists and it was no contest. Sometimes you should not go to the paddock.

Elsewhere, Kris Kin, the Derby winner, was playing violently with his bit, like it was all a new experience. Which, considering his career, it was. Kris Kin played an extraordinary part in the King George, much the same as Sulamani, who finished one place ahead of him in second. Both appeared to run like dogs.

Sulamani swerved all over the place, and decisively inwards when asked to labour by Frankie Dettori. Kris Kin performed as if this was either his first race or his last. The orange chestnut is callow and battle-scarred at the same time, so heaven knows what he will produce next time. He has endured two horrifically sapping races on the trot. We can just hope that Alamshar does the same.

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