Horse Racing Betting: Donn McClean’s Horses To Follow
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.
Consider ideal conditions across variables like venue, ground, opposition and ensure prices on betting sites are satisfactory to you as a punter.
This column should help you build up a list that proves profitable under those circumstances.
It should also provide timely reminders to reduce repeated form study and assist with your enjoyment of a season, be it National Hunt or Flat racing.
Purple Lily - Galway, 1st August
Purple Lily looked good in winning the seven-furlong juvenile fillies' maiden at Galway on Tuesday.
Slowly away and dropped in early on by Billy Lee, last of the eight runners initially, she made ground on the inside into sixth place as they raced down the hill. Still sixth as they started around the home turn, she picked up well, moved towards the outside and moved into fourth as they straightened up for home.
She found lots from there, she was strong on the outside, she joined Tannola deep inside the final furlong, and moved on to win by a neck.
Purple Lily was one of several Paddy Twomey-trained juveniles who have hit the track in the last few weeks. Juxtaposition won at Leopardstown, A Lilac Rolla won at Cork and Sea The Polaris finished second on Monday at Galway, while the three-year-old newcomer Countess Of Tyrone won on Friday at Galway.
This looked like a strong maiden that Purple Lily won, as this race often is. This year's Irish 1000 Guineas winner and Coronation Stakes winner Tahiyra won the race last year, while Hermosa won it in 2018 and Legatissimo won it in 2014.
Three of the previous nine winners went on to be Classic winners, while Blandford Stakes winner Eziyra won it in 2016. Purple Lily was nicely strong in the market before this, her racecourse debut, and she impressed with her pace, her stamina and her attitude.
She beat a couple of exciting fillies, probably with more in hand than the bare winning margin, despite not having had had ideal run through the race. She doesn't hold any lofty entries but, out of a half-sister to Irish Oaks third Lady's Secret, it will be surprising if she does not turn out to be a stakes filly.
She should improve for this experience, and she could improve again if she steps out in trip.
Toss Again - Galway, 4th August
Toss Again was seriously impressive in winning the Galway Blazers Handicap Chase over the Galway Plate course and distance on Friday.
Prominent from early, he was quickly into a nice jumping rhythm for Darragh O'Keeffe. He moved into a share of the lead with Fire Attack on the run into the dip first time, jumped into the lead over the first fence on the final circuit, and didn't see a rival thereafter.
Good Bye Sam challenged wide over the last two fences, but two more good jumps there took Toss Again back into a clear lead, still travelling well. He picked up well on the run around the home turn, and he stayed on strongly up the hill to get home by almost two lengths.
Henry de Bromhead's horse was a progressive novice hurdler last season, he reached a rating of 125 over hurdles, but already he is a much better chaser. An impressive winner of his beginners' chase at Limerick in May, this was just his second run over fences, and he put up the best performance of his life.
His jumping was superb for one so inexperienced. The handicapper raised him by 10lb to a mark of 140, but he has the potential to be better than that now over fences, given the fluency and the accuracy of his jumping.
He may not be a horse for deep winter ground, but he will always be of interest in the summer and in the autumn and in the spring. He stays well, so he has myriad options now in the short to medium term, and, in the longer term, he could be a Galway Plate horse.
Al Mubhir - Goodwood, 4th August
Al Mubhir did well to get as close as he did from the rear in the Golden Mile at Goodwood last Friday from a high draw and coming from the rear in a race in which the pace held up well.
Dropped in early on from his high draw by Richard Kingscote, he travelled well into the home straight, but he had a wall of horses in front of him on the run to the two-furlong marker. Switched to his left for racing room, he picked up well on the run to the furlong pole, and he finished off his race best of all towards the centre, among horses.
It never looked like he was going to get to the leaders, the race just didn't pan out in his favour, but he finished off his race well, leaving the impression that he had more left to give.
The Golden Mile is usually a race in which it is imperative to be drawn low but, this year, it was more important to race up with the pace. Two of the first four home - including the winner Johan - raced from high draws, but the first four home were first, second, third and fourth after they had gone a furlong, and three of them occupied the first three places for the whole race.
Al Mubhir did best of the horses who raced in rear early on, and the form of the race received an early boost when seventh-placed Perotto, who finished just a short head in front of Al Mubhir, won the Shergar Cup Mile at Ascot on Saturday.
William Haggas' horse will be of interest in another big handicap now, or in Pattern company, when he has conditions in his favour.
He is at his best when there is an ease in the ground, he handles heavy conditions well, and he is two for two in October, so he will remain of interest as we move more deeply into the season.
True Legend - Goodwood, 4th August
True Legend can be marked up at least a little on the bare form of the performance that he put up in finishing second to Balance Play in the 11-furlong three-year-olds' handicap that concluded proceedings at Goodwood last Thursday.
Weak in the market beforehand, he was steadied early on by Luke Morris and settled back in the field towards the inside, and he was still on the bridle when they levelled up for home. He had a wall of horses in front of him though on the inside at the two-furlong marker, and no easy route into the clear.
Checked in his run again on the run to the furlong marker, he did get into the clear inside the furlong pole, but by then Balance Play had flown, and he just couldn't catch him. He did get past Dancing In Paris for second place, and the first three finished nicely clear.
Unlucky-looking losers can often be at the root of their own ill-luck, and they are often over-bet on their subsequent runs, but there are other reasons too for keeping Soir Mark Prescott's horse on side now.
Firstly, he seemed to improve for first-time cheekpieces when he won at Salisbury on his previous outing, and he improved again on that here, off a 6lb higher mark and in a much better race. Also, this was a race in which they didn't go quickly early on, as evidenced by the winner's finishing speed of 109.97% over overall speed.
It was difficult for the hold-up horses to get into the race. He did well to get as close as he did, especially given that he didn't have an unchecked run through the final two furlongs.
The handicapper has raised True Legend by 4lb to a mark of 85, but that still leaves him in this 0-90 grade. He will be of obvious interest in another 0-90 handicap now, but he has the potential to go beyond that grade too.
By Camelot and of a half-sister to Le Havre, he is really well bred, he stays a mile and a half and he handles easy ground.
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