We round up the week's eyecatchers from Timeform including a two-year-old to note from the Sunday meeting at Ripon.
Ever Given justified strong support to make a successful debut in the opening novice event at Ripon on Sunday, drawing clear in the final furlong to beat Bolton Abbey, who had the benefit of previous experience, by three and a quarter lengths.
The winner is open to further progress and looks a bright prospect for the Tom Dascombe yard, while the pair of newcomers who completed the frame, Neat And Dandy and ZIMMERMAN, also shaped well amidst inexperience.
Both horses were slowly away but, whereas Neat And Dandy recovered quickly to take up a prominent position, Zimmerman appeared to be outpaced at the rear of the field, needing to be shaken up before halfway just to stay in touch.
The first three had gained a clear break on the rest of the field entering the final furlong, but it was encouraging how well Zimmerman kept on in the closing stages to emerge as the best of the rest, doing so whilst being subjected to nothing more than a hands-and-heels ride.
Beaten eight lengths at the line, Zimmerman is sure to progress with that experience under his belt, while both his pedigree and the way he shaped here suggest that he’ll be suited by longer trips. He is by Poet’s Voice, whose best progeny have raced mostly over middle-distances, out of a useful winner up to a mile and a half. His half-sister Rhagori, who was by more of a speed influence in Exceed And Excel, also showed useful form at around a mile and a quarter.
Trained by Tim Easterby, whose horses tend to improve for a run anyway, Zimmerman has certainly made a positive start to his career and will be one to look out for when the first seven-furlong maidens of the season start appearing in the calendar.
JADWAL filled the runner-up spot for the third race in succession when beaten three-quarters of a length in a six-furlong handicap at Newmarket on Saturday, but he once again left a favourable impression, raising his game another notch but simply bumping into a rival destined for better things.
There was no shame in Jadwal finding Jumby too strong as that rival now has the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup on his agenda at Royal Ascot. It was the second time this season that Jadwal had the misfortune of bumping into an opponent earmarked for Group 1s as he was beaten by Dragon Symbol on his return at Kempton last month, while he was possibly unlucky not to win at Lingfield in between as he was poorly placed in rear off a steady pace.
Jadwal was allowed to stride on at Newmarket and stuck to his task really well, making Jumby work to pass him. He may have been unable to fend off Jumby, but pulled three lengths clear of the remainder, highlighting that he is also a well-handicapped and progressive sprinter. There were plenty of positives to take from the performance and he can gain reward for some promising displays behind talented rivals.
The mile-and-a-quarter handicap at York on Friday featured plenty of unexposed, potential improvers and looks like a strong piece of form. Surrey Pride got the verdict by a length and a quarter from Makram, but the best long-term prospect in the field could be the third home, IRISH ADMIRAL.
Irish Admiral, making his handicap debut on just his fourth start, moved like a horse a long way ahead of his opening mark. Dropped out in the early stages from his wide draw, Irish Admiral knocked the eye out with the stylish headway he made down the outside to get himself into contention. He looked to be going best when still on the bridle two furlongs out, but he was unable to sustain his challenge as well as Surrey Pride and Makram, another couple of lightly raced and progressive four-year-olds.
The strength with which Irish Admiral travelled suggests that he will be well suited by dropping back in trip – he had shown plenty of speed when winning over an extended mile at Wolverhampton – and he is one to have on the radar for a valuable mile handicap. It's also worth noting that this was just his second start for William Haggas since joining from John Feane, so there could be plenty still to come.
Michael Dods has been knocking on the door on the Knavesmire this week, saddling four runners who have all performed with immense credit. Northern Express and Brunch have come closest to making the breakthrough, both filling the runner-up spot in their respective races, while Woven was beaten just a length into fourth in the six-furlong handicap which kicked off Wednesday’s card.
JAWWAAL may not have fared quite so well as that trio in terms of finishing position, but he will almost certainly be of interest the next time he runs, such was the promise he shaped with when seventh in the opening sprint handicap on Thursday. The most eye-catching aspect of his performance was how strongly he travelled, tanking along in touch and looking back to the sort of form which had seen him win his first two starts of last season. He still had only Copper Knight ahead of him entering the final furlong before losing several places close home, ultimately passing the post two and three quarter lengths behind the winner.
Put simply, Jawwaal is all speed and would probably appreciate a faster surface than he encountered at York, with his wins last season at Doncaster (firm) and Ascot (good to firm) both coming on summer ground. He went off the boil during the second half of 2020 but looks to be working back to his best, identifying him as very much one to be positive about from his falling mark. For context, he is now only 5lb higher in the weights than for his Ascot success, where he put a really competitive affair to bed in impressive fashion.
Five horses pulled clear of the rest in the six-furlong handicap on the opening day of the Dante Festival, with Mr Lupton coming out on top by a length to bring up the tenth success of his career and his fourth on the Knavesmire.
The others who completed the frame all showed enough to suggest that they can also find a race or two this year, not least the third ZARGUN, who defied odds of 125/1 with a huge run to pass the post just a length and a nose behind the winner.
Zargun arguably deserved extra credit, too, given that the pair who beat him both came from much further back in a strongly-run race. Zargun was in the firing line throughout, holding the outright lead at around halfway, and it was encouraging how well he stuck to his task given the energy he must have expended in the early stages.
Formerly a useful performer in Germany, this certainly represented a return to form for Zargun on just his second start for Scott Dixon after being bought for €15,000 in October.
Zargun has won over seven furlongs but is clearly blessed with plenty of speed, while it’s also worth pointing out that the balance of his form suggests he is most effective on rain-softened ground. Look out for him in a similar event in the coming weeks, with the apparent strength of this form giving hope that he can remain competitive even once reassessed.
SUNSET SHIRAZ was not the first and will not be the last horse to come up short in a battle against a gritty rival from the Jim Bolger yard, but there was plenty to like about her performance on debut at Roscommon.
Sunset Shiraz looked all set to make a winning debut when sweeping past Cool And Clever and into the lead over a furlong out. However, Cool And Clever, who had the benefit of a previous run, found plenty under pressure to regain the lead close home. The fact Sunset Shiraz pulled six lengths clear of the third suggests that it was a case of Cool And Clever responding strongly to pressure rather than her stopping in front, however, and it’s worth viewing her performance in a positive light.
It's encouraging that Sunset Shiraz showed such a good turn of foot and proved so competitive over seven furlongs as she boasts an excellent staying pedigree - she is a half-sister to St Leger runner-up Berkshire Rocco. Sunset Shiraz is evidently not slow but, based on her pedigree, should continue to progress with time and is likely to come into her own over further. She is in excellent hands with Gavin Cromwell and looks one to follow.
GLOBAL ACCLAMATION is on a long losing run that stretches back more than two years and comprises 21 starts, but he was arguably unlucky not to snap the sequence at Lingfield on Monday and he has clearly dropped to a competitive mark.
Global Acclamation travelled well on his first start since December, but he was disadvantaged by having to make his challenge from further back than the winner, Vitesse du Son. That proved decisive as, while Global Acclamation kept on well in the straight to force a three-way photo-finish, he was unable to make up the deficit and had to settle for third, beaten a short head and a nose. Had Global Acclamation not conceded first run he may well have won, but connections can take plenty of encouragement from the performance.
He has clearly returned from a break in good heart and has won off a 4 lb higher mark in the past, so there is good reason to think he can gain a measure of compensation shortly. Connections will have options as Global Acclamation is clearly effective over seven furlongs, but he also ran to a similar level when placed over an extended mile at Wolverhampton last season.