Donn McClean's Horses to Follow: August 12th to 19th August
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.
Windsor Pass - Leopardstown, 12th August 2021
Windsor Pass was probably unlucky not to finish closer than she did in the one-mile fillies' handicap at Leopardstown recently. Settled in mid-division and along the inside early on by Shane Foley, she travelled well into the home straight, but she didn't have a lot of racing room along the inside. She made ground gradually from the two-furlong marker among horses, she tried to come outside Flagged at the furlong marker, but that option was removed when I Siyou Baby arrived up on her outside, and she never really had the racing room after that to deliver a challenge. In the end, she passed the post in fourth place, just over a length behind the winner I Siyou Baby.
Jessica Harrington's filly remains a maiden, but it will be surprising if she doesn't get off the mark soon. She had put up a career-best effort on her previous run, over the same course and distance, when she finished off her race well down the outside to finish second to the same I Siyou Baby. She was meeting Joseph O'Brien's progressive filly on 6lb better terms, and it might have been a good race between them had she enjoyed a better run through her race. I Siyou Baby is now rated 92, 4lb higher than she was and 13lb higher than she was when she beat Windsor Pass by a half a length in July. Windsor Pass is now rated 77, just 4lb higher than she was last month. She could be a well-handicapped filly now on that mark.
Limiti De Greccio - Leopardstown, 12th August 2021
Limiti Di Greccio was impressive in winning the seven-furlong juvenile fillies' maiden at Leopardstown on August 12. Smartly away from her wide draw, she travelled well up on the outside of her field just behind the leaders. Three or four wide around the home turn, she made nice progress for Billy Lee to move into third place as they straightened up, and she picked up well from there joining Kerkiyra and Voice Of Angels on the run to the furlong marker and she kept on strongly to get up and win by just over a length.
This was Limiti Di Greccio's third run ever, and it was her first since she joined Paddy Twomey. She had shaped well on her second and final run for John Kinsella, when she finished second behind Corviglia at Leopardstown three weeks earlier, and this was a nice step forward from that. She had to go wider than ideal for most of the way from her wide draw, but she still appeared to win with more than the bare winning margin in hand. Her trainer mentioned the Ingabelle Stakes as a potential next target, the Listed juvenile fillies' race over the same course and distance that opens proceedings on Irish Champions' Weekend, and that would be a good target for her. She also holds entries in the Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket over seven furlongs and in the Cheveley Park over six, and that gives an indication of the regard in which she is held by connections.
Golden Apollo - Ripon, 14th August 2021
Golden Apollo did really well to finish second in the Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon recently, coming from the rear in a race in which the pace held up well. Held up early on by David Allan in the stands side group, close to the stands rail, he travelled well until the run to the two-furlong marker. He picked up nicely too when his rider asked him to, and he got a nice gap between Gale Force Mayo and the rail at the furlong marker. He got past that rival too, but he just couldn't catch Justanotherbottle, who was always prominent and raced against the stands rail from early.
It was a race in which it appears that it was an advantage to be handy and in which it was an advantage to race in the stands side group from a high draw. The first four home raced, respectively, from stalls 19, 17, 18 and 20, and the winner and the third were always prominent, while four of the first five home raced in midfield or better from flagfall. Golden Apollo raced on the near side from a high draw, but he was held up, he was last in the near-side group passing the three-furlong marker. He did well to get as close as he did to the winner. He is seven years old now, he is not an unexposed sprinter, he has raced 48 times, but this run suggests that he could be winning again soon. The handicapper left him on his mark of 86, which is 13lb lower than his peak and 7lb lower than his mark at the end of last season. He goes well on easy ground, so he will be of interest as we move into the autumn, and some of his best runs have been at York, so he will be of most interest if and when he goes back to the Knavesmire.
Jawwaal - York, 18th August 2021
Jawwaal out-ran big odds in finishing fourth in the five-and-a-half-furlong handicap at York last week. Drawn one off the stands rail in stall 21, at a meeting at which the low-drawn horses appeared to have an edge on the sprint track, he was settled towards the rear of the field early on by Jamie Spencer and towards the near side. He travelled really well to the two-furlong marker, and he was still on the bridle on the run to the furlong marker as most of his rivals came under a ride. He picked up well too, he probably moved into second place about 150 yards out before his run flattened out a little.
It was still a fine performance though, to finish fourth from the rear and from his high draw in a race in which the other eight runners who, with him, filled the first nine places were drawn 13 or lower. It was up there with the best performances of his career, and probably not far behind the performance that he put up in winning a five-furlong handicap at Doncaster in early July off a 5lb lower mark. He goes well at York, but he also goes really well at Doncaster, his record there reads 3-2-1-0-1-1, and he will be of particular interest if and when he goes back there, ideally back over five furlongs. He has won over seven furlongs, but his two wins over that distance were back in 2018, and he is probably better over the minimum trip now than he is over six or seven furlongs, or even five-and-a-half.
Noorban - York, 18th August 2021
Noorban did well to get as close as she did in the five-furlong fillies' handicap at York last week. Drawn on the wing in stall two, lowest of all, Daniel Tudhope took her back early on in order that he could get her covered up through the first couple of furlongs, and she was just about last of the 13 runners on the far side after they had gone two furlongs. She travelled best of all to the two-furlong marker, and she picked up well when her rider asked her to, but a gap closed on her as they raced inside the final furlong, she had to switch, and that just checked her momentum on the far side as the race developed on the near side. She kept on well through the final 100 yards though when she got the gap and, while it never looked like she was going to get to the winner Tweet Tweet, who went fast from early down the near side, she went to the line strongly, finishing third, beaten just a length-and-a-half.
This was a race that did not pan out well for Noorban. It developed towards the near side, and the pace held up well. The winner made just about all the running, the runner-up was handy from early, and the first, second and fourth all raced towards the near side. Noorban did well to get as close as she got, racing towards the far side and from the rear, especially given that she was checked in her run late on. David O'Meara's filly is not especially lightly-raced, but she is only three and she has a nice progressive profile. She goes well at York and on fast ground, and she could do even better now if and when she steps back up to six furlongs.
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