Donn McClean's Horses To Follow: May 2 to May 9
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.
Tosen Wish - Cork, May 5
Tosen Wish stayed on well to take fifth place in the Mallow Handicap at Cork last Friday. Weak in the market beforehand with many uk bookmakers, he was steadied from the gate by Cian McRedmond. A detached last of the 19 runners with a half a mile to run, he came under a ride on the near side on the run to the two-furlong marker.
Hard driven on the run to the furlong pole, he switched to the far side and stayed on strongly through traffic. It never looked like he was going to get there, but he kept on best of all to take fifth place, just three lengths behind the winner Earls, and beaten just a head for fourth.
It was a really encouraging run from the New Bay colt on his first run for Ado McGuinness. Winner of his maiden as a juvenile over seven furlongs when he was with Takashi Kodama, he was off the track for 15 months after that, before making his debut for Joseph O'Brien in a seven-furlong handicap at Dundalk in February, which he duly won easily off a mark of 82.
A 7lb hike was not overly harsh, and, sold for €100,000 at Goffs in February, he proved here that he was more than capable of his new mark of 89 for his new connections. He does go well on this soft ground, but his Dundalk win suggests that he is versatile in terms of underfoot conditions. There is plenty of speed in his family, his dam won over five furlongs, but he is by New Bay, and he shaped here as if he would appreciate a step up to a mile. He has raced just four times, and he is an exciting recruit for Ado McGuinness.
Lord Massusus - Naas, May 6
Lord Massusus did well to win the six-furlong premier handicap at Naas on Saturday. Settled nicely just behind the pace early on, he travelled well but didn't have much racing room as they raced inside the two-furlong marker.
Gary Carroll had to allow him to ease back a little before he could switch his horse to his right and into the clear. By the time he did have racing room, he was only fourth and they had reached the furlong pole, but he showed a smart turn of foot from there to hit the front deep inside the final furlong, and he was always holding the challenge of Cash Or Crypto on the run to the winning line.
This was a fine performance by Joe Murphy's horse, probably a career-best from a seriously progressive horse. He was progressive at the end of his two-year-old season last year, he won two of his last three races, and he started off this season by winning nicely at Gowran Park last month. This was a step forward from that, into a premier handicap and racing off a mark of 97.
The handicapper has raised him by 9lb for this win to a mark of 106, and that puts him into Pattern race territory. His trainer spoke afterwards about the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot, and that would be an interesting project. He won a nursery at Listowel last year over a mile, and he raced here as if the step back up to seven furlongs could suit him well.
Royal Scotsman - Newmarket, May 6
Royal Scotsman was the horse to take out of the 2000 Guineas on Saturday. Not much went right for the Coles' horse through the race. He was keen from flagfall, he was smartly away and he didn't have any cover on the near side for the first furlong. He did get in behind horses after they had gone a furlong, but he was still keen, and he was probably lit up even more by the crowding just before the six furlong marker.
Still keen in behind horses at the four-furlong marker, he had to have expended a fair bit more energy than he needed to through the early part of the race, so it was to his immense credit that he picked up as well as he did at the two-furlong marker. To compound matters, the two leaders, Chaldean and Hi Royal, raced away from him on the far side from their low draws, Royal Scotsman had to do a lot of his own running down the near side, in the clear from just inside the two-furlong marker with no company. He kept on all the way to the line, and he probably wasn't helped by the wanderings of Hi Royal in front of him close home.
Royal Scotsman has met Chaldean twice now, and he has finished behind him twice. Their first meeting was in the Dewhurst last October, when the Coles' horse finished off his race well to go down by just a head. He was further behind Andrew Balding's horse here, but he may be able to close the gap if and when they meet next with a smoother run through the race.
He proved here that he stays a mile all right, and he could be even better on faster ground. He is not in the Irish Guineas, but the St James's Palace Stakes looks like a legitimate target for him now. He is zero for two at Ascot, he was beaten on his racecourse debut there, but he ran a big race in the Coventry Stakes there on the straight track last June to finish third behind Bradsell and Persian Force, when he was in front fully two furlongs out, the first three nicely ahead of their rivals.
Tarawa - Leopardstown, May 7
Tarawa kept on well to take second place behind Zarinsk in the Guineas Trial at Leopardstown on Sunday. Settled towards the rear of the field early on by Billy Lee behind a decent pace that Zarinsk set, she moved into her race nicely. She travelled well into the home straight, and she picked up well when her rider asked her to. She just couldn't catch Zarinsk, who made all the running, but she stayed on willingly through the final furlong, going down by just over a length in the end.
It was a really likeable performance by Dermot Weld's filly on just her third ever run. Winner of her maiden on soft ground at Leopardstown last October, this was her first run since, and she kept on well to get close to a talented and progressive rival who had had a run this season in a race that was run in a good time, over two-and-a-half seconds faster than the time that Zarinsk's five-year-old stable companion Power Under Me clocked in winning the Group 3 Amethyst Stakes run over the same course and distance 35 minutes later.
She was a little weak in the market on link_text_goes_here too, and her trainer's horses are just starting to hit form now, and she is really lightly raced, so she could come forward a fair bit for this run. She holds some lofty entries, and she will be of interest wherever she goes now.
Al Husn - Leopardstown, May 7
Al Husn put up a good performance to finish second to Via Sistina in the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket on Sunday. She travelled well through her race on the far side, but she came under a ride before they reached the two-furlong marker. Via Sistina was still on the bridle at that point, and she ran out a seriously impressive winner, but there was a lot to like about the manner in which Al Husn kept on in the centre, getting the better of Astral Beau for the runner-up spot, with last year's Falmouth Stakes winner and Guineas runner-up Prosperous Voyage back in fifth.
Winner of a novice stakes over a mile on her final run as a juvenile, Al Husn won all three races last season, putting up the best performance of her career up to that point when she won a premier fillies' handicap over 10 furlongs at Newmarket on her final run last season.
This was probably a step up on that, dropping down by a furlong in trip, but this run suggests that she can improve again for a step back up to 10 furlongs or even a mile and a half. She is a half-sister to Moshaawer, who won over a mile and a half, and her dam is a half-sister to Itlaaq, who won over two miles.
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