Donn McClean's Horses to Follow: July 26th - July 30th
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.
Mosala - Galway, 27th July 2021
Mosala ran another big race in the Colm Quinn BMW Mile at Galway on Tuesday. A little reluctant before the start, he was settled nicely back in the field early on by Chris Hayes from his wide draw, and he only had three horses behind him as they left the back straight. He travelled well down the hill and he picked up among horses as they started to turn for home. He had to move toward the outside as they turned into the home straight, but, once into the clear, he kept on well up the hill to take third place behind Sirjack Thomas.
It was a fine run by Henry de Bromhead's horse, dropping back down in trip to a mile for the first time since December, and racing at Galway for the first time in his life. His optimum trip is probably 10 furlongs, 12 furlongs probably stretched him at The Curragh on Derby weekend on his only attempt at that trip, so he will be of interest when he steps back up to 10 furlongs, ideally at Leopardstown, where he has put up two of the best performances of his career. He continues to progress though, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next.
Desir Du Large - Galway, 28th July 2021
Desir Du Large probably won the two-mile-five-furlong maiden hurdle with more in hand than the bare winning margin. Quickly into a nice rhythm for Shane Fitzgerald, in the slipstream of the Willie Mullins-trained favourite Lasparas, his jumping was slick in the main and he moved easily into the lead when Lasparas wilted as they turned to race down the hill. He jumped the second last flight well and, when his main challenger Lonesome Boatman made a mistake at that obstacle, the race looked more or less over as a contest. But Desir Du Large had a look around him as they raced around the home turn, it appeared that he got lonely in front, and Lonesome Boatman closed up on him again by the time they got to the final flight. Once Joseph O'Brien's horse was tackled again, however, he picked up again, he pulled out more on the run to the line and he appeared to win with plenty in hand.
Winner of his bumper at Fairyhouse in December 2018, the Gigginstown House Stud horse was off the track after that until he made his debut over hurdles in a Grade 2 contest at Navan last February. He ran a big race there to finish third behind two top class novices, Echoes In Rain and Belfast Banter, both Grade 1 winners subsequently, with Jesse Evans, who finished fourth in the Galway Hurdle off a mark of 139, two lengths back in third. His two runs earlier this summer were good, both over two miles, but it appeared that he appreciated the step up to two miles and five furlongs at Galway on Wednesday. There is plenty of stamina in his pedigree, and he could progress again for going out further in trip. He will be of interest wherever he goes now over hurdles, and he could prove to be an exciting staying novice chaser if and when connections decide to go down that route.
Darasso - Galway, 28th July 2021
Darasso did well to get as close as he did in the Galway Plate, given that he missed the break, and that he was playing catch-up from early.
Squeezed out of it a little when the tapes went up, he only had four horses behind him as they crossed the winning line with two circuits to go, and he didn't have a trouble-free passage after that either. He was tight for room at the first fence, and he was ridden along by Luke Dempsey among traffic at various junctures through the race. He did make progress through the field though into mid-division as they raced down the back straight final time, and into seventh or eighth as they raced down the hill into the dip to the last two fences. Still only eighth as they rounded the home turn, he stayed on gamely up the hill to take fifth place, just five lengths behind the winner Royal Rendezvous, nearest at the finish.
It was a big run by Joseph O'Brien's horse, coming from the rear in a race in which the pace held up well. The winner made just about all the running, and Darasso was one of just two horses who came from mid-division or worse to get into the top seven. JP McManus' horse is a classy one, he won a Grade 3 hurdle and a Grade 2 chase in the spring of 2019, and he had been in good form this season, he was impressive in winning over hurdles at Killarney in May and again when winning over fences at Listowel in June. He kept on well too to finish second to Sole Pretender in the Grade 3 Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary in early July, when he had Plate third Modus well behind him in third, and his Plate run was a nice step forward from that. He has won four of his seven chases, he is already rated higher over fences than over hurdles, and there could be more to come from him now as a chaser.
Timeless Soul - Goodwood, 28th July 2021
Timeless Soul did well to finish second in the 10-furlong fillies' handicap at Goodwood on Wednesday. Taken back early on in the race by David Egan, she moved up nicely early in the home straight, and she made good progress to challenge Achelois on the run to the furlong marker. Achelois found plenty in front though, Timeless Soul just couldn't catch her, and Roger Varian's filly moved a little to her left close home, but she stayed on well all the way to the line, getting to within a length of the winner by the time they got there.
This was a race in which the pace held up well. Achelois was handy from early, she raced in second place behind the leader Freyja, and the leader kept on well enough to finish third. Timeless Soul was ridden further back in the field, on this, her first attempt at 10 furlongs, and her first run back after a short break, so she probably did well to get as close as she did. It was just her fourth run, her three previous runs were all over a mile, including when she was impressive in winning her maiden at Beverley in May, so she should continue to progress. She stayed the 10 furlongs well too, so it wouldn't be surprising if she was ridden more forward on her next run over the trip.
Nibiru - Galway, 30th July 2021
Nibiru did remarkably well to finish fifth in the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle at Galway on Friday. Settled in mid-division and along the inside early on by Liam McKenna, he travelled well until the pace quickened on the run down the back straight final time, at which point he had to be niggled along by his rider. Only about 10th or 11th as they rounded the turn at the top of the hill with two flights to jump, he started to stay on along the inside, but it all got very tight in there on the run to the second last flight, and he got fairly badly hampered on the run towards the obstacle. Shuffled back in the field at that point, he had to start again, and he had his momentum checked again as they ran to the home turn. Still only 10th jumping the final flight, he stayed on really strongly up the hill to get up and take fifth place, less than five lengths behind the winner Hallowed Star.
It was a really good run by Tony Martin's horse in the circumstances. He did get out-paced but, if he had had a cleaner run through the race when he started to stay on, he could have gone very close to winning the race. He had shaped really well in a 12-furlong handicap on the flat at Galway on Monday, on his first run since January, when he travelled well to the home turn and just kept on from there to take second place behind Merroir, a race from which the third horse, No Thanks, came out and won a two-mile handicap on Tuesday. Nibiru obviously goes well at Galway, but he is in good heart now and he will be of interest wherever he goes next. He could benefit from a step up to two and a half miles over hurdles.
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