Flat season 2021 is underway, restrictions are lifting and soon we may be able to see more people at racecourses. Everything seems to be taking a positive turn at present and Throne Hall continued that trend with an impressive display when taking the 32Red Casino Handicap at Doncaster.
The 4yo is a homebred son of Kingman from Sheikh Obaid Al Maktoum’s dam Appearance. Her progeny have improved with both time and trip which gave Kevin an idea of what to expect of Throne Hall from the start. Athletic but a big colt, Throne Hall would only see the track once in his juvenile season, a very promising 3rd on debut.
As a 3yr old he was again limited to runs but quickly developed into a horse full of potential. Winning his maiden over 1m1f, in a comfortable fashion, the then 3yo was given an opening mark of 83. It seemed quite a fair mark with connections feeling that he could be a bit better than that. The only question was just how much could he progress there and then or would time be key. In his first foray into handicap company, Throne Hall partook in a small 4 runner 0-105 race. For the quality of race it maybe looked a little underwhelming when the top rated horse was on a mark of 90 but in hindsight it turned out to be quite a race. Throne Hall went down by a neck to Ilaraab, with the pair pulling clear of the other duo. When his rival went on to win 2 more handicaps, at Newbury and York, he saw his mark rise to 102. With the form well and truly franked it was tempting to try and make the most of Throne Hall’s seemingly low rating of 88 but Kevin knew that 2021 would see him in a better light.
Gelded over the winter, Throne Hall came to hand early and was immediately earmarked for the opening weekend of the flat season. The 4yo+ handicap attracted a few rivals who had a similar profile to Throne Hall and it was intriguing just who out of the leading 3 or 4 had the most potential. Unfortunately Andrea Atzeni had to give up his rides on the opening weekend but Kevin Stott took the leg up and what a substitution to make.
The Dane immediately showed his prowess in the saddle jumping Throne Hall out positively, enabling him to track over from his wide draw. It was an important initial move as the 1m2f track goes immediately into a bend and continues to swing left handed through to the the home straight. All the market leaders were close up to a fair gallop so there would be no hiding place.
Throne Hall strode out with clear daylight in front of him and travelled well through the contest. With an outsider leading the field, Throne Hall was the one that had a target in his back and his market rivals were tracking his every move. Very little changed as they race left handed and the 4f run in allows plenty of time to make a move through the latter stages. Once they turned for home, Kevin found himself sat in third and he would measure his approach as they business end loomed up in front of them.
The leaders tried to kick early on in the straight but quickly their move was covered by the fancied runners. Kevin squeezed Throne Hall along to match the increase in tempo which the gelding did with ease. His move pulled along Taqareer and Secret Victory who sat in his slipstream. The trio loomed large as the pacesetters started to feel the pressure.
There is a fine line of when to kick, especially when your mount if full of running. The market looked to have got the contest correct as the four leaders in the betting swept through to take control of the race. Kevin waited in front until the final couple of furlongs when he decided to press the go button. Throne Hall had Secret Victory chasing but covered his challenge and repelled it with ease. As they moved into the final furlong it was left to Taqareer to have one final go and take the victory from Throne Hall. Stott drove his mount out and the 4yo just continued to find more. He kicked clear to win by a commanding 1 3/4 lengths, as the first two pulled clear of the rest.
It was an impressive display form Throne Hall and sets up a big season ahead for him. He was always in command and easily repelled challenges, finding more and seeing out the trip convincingly. It looks as though another couple of furlongs will bring out more from him and the bigger middle distance handicaps look likely to come into his remit soon. The handicapper will be adding to his handicap mark now and the Dante meeting at York looks like the next logical step.