Donn McClean's Horses to Follow: June 19th - June 27th
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.
Migration - Salisbury, June 23
Migration was unlucky in the Class 2 one-mile handicap at Salisbury last Wednesday. Held up early on from his inside draw, he wasn't helped by the fact that the early pace was not strong. Still last of the 12 runners on the run to the two-furlong marker, the field fanned out when they reached the cutaway just outside the two-furlong pole, but David Menuisier's horse didn't really get racing room until they were on the approach to the furlong marker. When he did, he picked up well and, switched to the outside by Silvestre de Sousa inside the final furlong, he finished off his race really strongly to finish fourth, just beaten a total of a length and a half, and just failing by a head to catch Dashing Oscar for third.
This was a race in which it paid to be handy. The winner and the runner-up, Johan and Variyann, were first and second from early, while the third horse, Dashing Roger, was close enough to the pace, and up on the outside in the clear. Migration, by contrast, was in behind horses and on the rail. This was the Alhebayeb gelding's first run since September 2019, and his first since being gelded. Well-backed beforehand, he would surely have gone close to winning if the pace had been stronger, or if he had had a cleaner run through the race. He was racing off a handicap rating of 94, the mark on which he finished the 2019 season, and the handicapper raised him by 1lb for Wednesday's run, but he looks like he could be a well-handicapped horse on that mark now. He stays 10 furlongs well, and he goes well on fast ground, so he will be of interest when he steps back up to that trip and returns to fast ground. Also, his two best runs have been at Sandown, so he will be of obvious interest if and when he returns to the Esher track.
Tudor City – Salisbury, June 23
Tudor City did really well to finish third in the Apprentice Derby at The Curragh on Friday evening. Dropped in from his wide draw and held up early on by Danny Sheehy, he was a little keener than ideal, but he still travelled well into the home straight. Almost last as they straightened up for home, he made good ground among horses from the two-furlong pole. He had to pick his way through traffic, it wasn't all clear sailing, and he had to switch to his left just inside the furlong marker, but he stayed on admirably from there to get up and take third place behind Beyond Happy and Allora Yeats.
It was a big run by Tony Martin's horse. The winning time was slow and, while the runner-up Allora Yeats did well too to make ground from the rear, she had moved up into mid-division as they raced to the home turn. The winner made all the running, and it was a race in which it was difficult for the hold-up horses to make progress.
Of course, Tudor City is not unexposed. Winner of the Galway Hurdle in 2019, this was his 52nd run, his 25th run on the flat on turf, to go with his 25 runs over hurdles, and his two on all-weather. He hasn't won since he won that Galway Hurdle, and he hasn't won on the flat since September 2017, but this was a really encouraging run with Galway just around the corner. He was racing here off a flat mark of 73, which is 13lb lower than his peak on the flat. Rated 140 over hurdles, 7lb lower than his peak and just 1lb higher than the mark off which he won the Galway Hurdle, he is surely on track for Galway now. He does go well at the track, as well as winning the 2019 Galway Hurdle, he won a one-mile handicap there in 2015 and he finished third in a 12-furlong handicap there in 2017.
Miss Myers – The Curragh, June 25
Miss Myers finished off her race well to take third place behind Longbourn in the 10-furlong handicap at The Curragh on Friday evening. Slowly away and dropped in last of the 15 runners, as is her wont, about four lengths behind the second last horse after they had gone 100 yards, she got into her racing rhythm at the back of the field for Gavin Ryan. Still stone last as they straightened up for home, she picked up well from the two-furlong marker, staying on strongly on the far side from the furlong pole to get up and take third place behind Longbourn and Solene Lilyette.
This was another race run at The Curragh on Friday evening in which the pace held up well. The winner Longbourn made just about all the running, while the runner-up Solene Lilyette was never far off the pace. Miss Myers did well to get as close as she did from well off the pace. That's her racing style. This was her 22nd run, but she is only four and she is in the form of her life.
Michael Grassick's filly put up a big performance on her previous run when, again, she came from well off the pace to finish second behind Pineapple Express in a 10-furlong handicap at Cork. Raised by 3lb for that run to a mark of 82, this was another step forward. The handicapper raised her by another 3lb to a mark of 85, but she will do better now when she can land into a race in which there is a strong early pace. She stays this 10-furlong trip well, she would be worth a try over a mile and a half, and she may be seen to even better effect if and when she can get back on easy ground, perhaps in the autumn.
Mosala - The Curragh, June 27
Mosala did well to get as close as he did in the 12-furlong handicap at The Curragh on Sunday. Taken back early on by Billy Lee from his outside draw and tucked in, he was a little keen early on, but he settled nicely, eighth of the 10 runners, after they had gone two furlongs. But it was a day on which the pace was holding up well and, as they passed the five-furlong marker, Mosala had at least 12 lengths to make up on the leader Effernock Fizz. He travelled well into the home straight and, wheeled to the outside, he did make up some of the ground. He got past five of his rivals, but he had to expend lots of energy in so doing, and he couldn't bridge the gap to Effernock Fizz and Vultan, who had raced in first and third places respectively from early.
In the end, Mosala was beaten by three lengths, but it was a good performance by Henry de Bromhead's horse, to come from as far back as he came and to get as close as he got. Beaten in his only run at two and beaten in his first six races at three, he got off the mark at Dundalk in January when he kept on well to win his maiden over 10 and a half furlongs. Given a break after that, he shaped encouragingly on his first run back this season when he kept on well to get to within a neck of Tauran Shaman in a 10-furlong handicap at Leopardstown off a mark of 80 in a race that is working out well. The handicapper raised him by 5lb for that run to a mark of 85, but he proved on Sunday that he was well capable off this type of mark. He might do better dropped back down to 10 furlongs, and it could be worth following him now. He holds an entry in a 10-furlong handicap at Leopardstown next Thursday evening, and he will be of interest if he takes his chance in that, at a track at which he goes well.
Cityman – The Curragh, June 27
Cityman ran a big race to finish third in the six-furlong handicap at The Curragh on Sunday. Settled nicely in mid-division by Amy Jo Hayes, he picked up on the run to the two-furlong marker when his rider asked him to. Moved to the far rail for a clear run, it never really looked like he was going to get to Fastnet Crown and Goodnight Girl, but he kept on encouragingly all the way to the line to take third place, beaten a total of two lengths.
It was a really encouraging run by Andy Slattery's horse, on his first run back in almost a year. The majority of the horses went to the far side in this race, and in the Rockingham 35 minutes later, but Urban Beat won the Rockingham from a high draw and racing up the stands rail, and it is more than reasonable to assume that, as is often the case at The Curragh, the fastest ground was up the stands rail.
Amy Jo Hayes gave Cityman a fine ride, she was drawn low and she had to go far side, and he ran well for her. It was a run on which the Slade Power gelding should be able to build now, his first run since last July, and his first in a tongue-tie. The handicapper raised him by 2lb for Sunday's run to a mark of 80, but that is still 8lb lower than the mark off which he raced when we saw him last at The Curragh in July 2020, and 13lb lower than his peak. He has obviously had issues that have kept him off the track in the interim, but if he is over those issues now, he could be a well-handicapped sprinter. He is adept over six furlongs, but his very best runs have been over five, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next.
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