Donn McClean's Horses To Follow: April 6th to April 13th
Before we dive in, some basic rules for a horses to follow list is to keep them in a tracker and on your radar for the next three runs, bearing in mind ideal conditions across variables like venue, ground, opposition and price are satisfactory to you as a punter.
This column should help you build up a list that proves profitable under those circumstances, provides timely reminders to reduce repeated form study and assist with your enjoyment of a season be it National Hunt or Flat racing in the UK and Ireland and sometimes beyond.
Amanirenas - Dundalk, 12th April 2022
Amanirenas put up a nice performance to finish second behind Suwappu in the seven-furlong maiden at Dundalk on Tuesday. Keen through the early stages of the race from her high draw, up on the outside of leader Papa K, she travelled well into the home straight for Billy Lee, and she looked a likely winner when she hit the front at the two-furlong marker, trading at 1.09 in-running. She was eventually run down by Suwappu, but she kept on well, given her early exertions, and the front two finished nicely clear.
This was just Michael Grassick's filly's second run, she stayed on encouragingly to take fourth place in a seven-furlong fillies' maiden on her racecourse debut behind the exciting Princess Olly at Cork just nine days earlier, so there is every chance that she will progress from this. She should improve as she learns to settle better, which she should do as she gains more experience. She is a half-sister to Street Art, a winner over 10 and 12 furlongs, so she could step up in trip in time but, for now, this seven-furlong trip looks like a good trip for her.
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Stone Of Destiny - Newmarket, 12th April 2022
Stone Of Destiny only finished seventh in the six-furlong handicap at Newmarket on Tuesday, but he ran better than that. Andrew Balding's horse was very keen through the early stages of the race, he didn't really drop the bridle until they were passing the three-furlong marker. He travelled well to the two-furlong marker though for David Probert, he was one of the only horses still on the bridle at that point but, when he challenged just on the far side of the eventual winner Gale Force Maya, he was squeezed for room as Chipstead moved to the left. He did get his gap at the furlong marker, but he had expanded lots of energy to get to that point, and he just kept on from there. Although he only finished seventh, he was beaten less than two lengths by the winner.
It was the second time in as many years that Stone Of Destiny was unlucky in this race. He didn't win last season after his unlucky run in this race, but he did really well on his subsequent run at Goodwood, going down by just a head to Desert Safari, coming from the rear off a sedate pace, and he didn't have a great run through the race either in the Dash at Epsom on Derby day, when he finished off his race well to take third place. Beaten only four lengths in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot last year, he is down to a handicap rating of 95 now, 9lb lower than his peak last season, and that makes him interesting now. His hold-up style of racing determines that he will always be a hostage to pace and to luck in-running, but he is at his best off a strong pace over five or six furlongs and, unsurprisingly given his running style, his best runs have been at Ascot.
Tacarib Bay - Newmarket, 12th April 2022
Tacarib Bay did well to finish second in the Free Handicap at Newmarket on Tuesday. Richard Hannon's colt was a little keen early on, but he travelled well once he had cover, in behind Honey Sweet and Power Of Beauty. Moved towards the far side by Ryan Moore on the run to the three-furlong marker, he picked up well on the run to the two-furlong pole and, while he couldn't go with the Godolphin colt New Science, who quickened on the far side, he kept on well all the way to the line to finish a clear second, just a length behind the winner and two lengths clear of Ribhi in third.
Winner of a Haydock maiden over six furlongs on his racecourse debut last May, the Night Of Thunder colt didn't race again until October, when he finished third in the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes over seven furlongs on soft ground at Newbury. This was a nice seasonal return, and he should be able to build on it, his seasonal debut and just his third run ever. Also, his two runs last year were on easier ground, so he could do even better if he gets back on softer ground.
Grecian Slipper - Gowran Park, 13th April 2022
Grecian Slipper put up a nice performance on her racecourse debut to finish third behind Affogato in the one-mile three-year-old fillies' maiden at Gowran Park on Wednesday. Squeezed along early by Declan McDonogh in order to secure a decent position from her good inside draw, she travelled well through the early stages of the race just behind the leaders. Third and travelled well along the inside as they started around the home turn, she came under a ride as they straightened up for home and, while she didn't pick up immediately, she was staying on when she was a little short for room at the two-furlong marker. She was keeping on again close home when she was a little short of room again inside the final 50 yards, but she kept on nicely to finish third behind Affogato and Paris Peacock, who had both raced as juveniles.
It was a fine performance by Joseph O'Brien's filly. She did show signs of greenness, which was not surprising on this, her racecourse debut, but there was a lot to like about the attitude that she showed. She should improve now with this experience under her belt and, out of a half-sister to Workforce, from the family of Brian Boru, who should be even better as she steps up in trip. She raced her too as if she would be even better over further.
Harry Three - Newmarket, 13th April 2022
Harry Three did well to finish third in the three-year-olds' six-furlong handicap at Newmarket on Wednesday. Taken back towards the rear of the field by John Fahy early on in order to get him settled, it wasn't ideal that he raced towards the far side from his low draw, given that the race developed towards the near side. Third last of the 12 runners at the three-furlong pole, he picked up well towards the far side on the run to the two.
He got the better of Robjon on the far side and he came away from his rivals over there, just failing losing out for the runner-up spot by the bob of a head to Loves Me Likearock, who duelled with Anadora on the near side through the final furlong of the race. The first four were clear, and three of the four raced from high draws towards the near side. Harry Three did best by far of the low-drawn horses.
Winner of his first two races, novice stakes races on the all-weather at Kempton in October and November, this was Clive Cox's horse's first run on turf, and it was probably his best performance yet. He can be keen, so the fast early pace suited him, and he stays the six-furlong trip well. A half-brother to Diligent Harry, a winner over five and six furlongs and only just beaten by Happy Romance in the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury last July, he should be able to progress from this now and go beyond his handicap rating of 87.
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