Donn McClean's Horses To Follow: September 28th to October 6th
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.
Bounce The Blues - Ascot, 2nd October 2021
Bounce The Blues ran a big race to finish second behind With Thanks in the Listed October Stakes over seven furlongs at Ascot recently. Restrained early on by David Probert from her high draw beside the stands rail, she travelled strongly through her race just behind the pace. She picked up at the two-furlong marker, and she got a nice gap on the run to the furlong pole through which to deliver her challenge. She finished off her race well too, she got the better of leader and favourite Highfield Princess, but she just couldn't catch With Thanks, who finished off her race well further out towards the centre of the track, going down by just a short head.
It was still a really good run by Andrew Balding's filly on her first run back since July. She was well beaten in the Oak Tree Stakes at Goodwood on her last run before her most recent run, but that obviously wasn't her true running. Winner of a listed race over a mile at Naas last August on her final run for Johnny Feane, she hasn't won yet since she joined Andrew Balding, but she has finished in the first three now in five of her seven races since her arrival in Britain, all at listed or Group 3 level. She was weak in the market before her last outing, so there is every chance that she will come on for that run, her first in over two months. She goes well on soft ground, so she will be of interest if she runs again before the end of the season.
Jason The Militant - Tipperary, 3rd October 2021
Jason The Militant ran well for a long way in the Grade 3 Horse & Jockey Hotel Hurdle at Tipperary last Sunday. Weak in the market beforehand, Henry de Bromhead's horse travelled well through the early stages of his race for Hugh Morgan, behind a decent pace that Saldier set. Saldier stretched the small field out as they raced down the back straight final time, but Jason The Militant closed right up behind him by the time they reached the end of the back straight. He appeared to travel at least as well as the leader as they raced around the home turn and, when Saldier lost his hind legs a little on the landing side of the second last flight, Jason The Militant and Darasso both moved up as big dangers on the near side. Saldier proved to be the stronger from there though, he quickened away impressively and, while Jason The Militant tired from the final flight, he still kept on well enough to finish third, just a length behind runner-up Darasso and just four lengths behind Saldier.
It was a good step back into the new season for Jason The Militant, taking on two horses who have been on the go during the summer in a race in which conditions suited the winner. Saldier was given a rating of 162 after he won the Galway Hurdle off a mark of 155 and, even though Jason The Militant is rated 5lb inferior, he had to concede 7lb to Willie Mullins' horse. Also, the yielding ground was probably faster than ideal for Jason The MIlitant. Peter Michael's horse should come on for this run, his first since he finished well behind his stable companion Honeysuckle in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle last April, and he should also be better on easier ground. He is only seven and he has raced just 10 times over hurdles, so there could be more to come from him this season. He ran a big race to finish a close-up third in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown last November, so he will be of interest if he goes for that race again next month.
Magic Daze - Galway, 5th October 2021
Magic Daze only finished third in the two-and-a-quarter-mile beginners' chase at Galway on Tuesday, but there was still plenty to take from the performance. She is a free-going sort, and she faced competition for the early lead from Julies Stowaway, but she was quickly into the lead on her own, and she stretched her rivals out, jumping well for a debutante. Gabynako closed on her on the run to the final two fences in the dip, and he went on from her over the last. She stuck to her task well though, she challenged Gavin Cromwell's horse as they raced around the home turn and started up the hill, but she tired from that point as her early exertions told, as Noble Yeats went past her and got up to beat Gabynako too.
Henry de Bromhead's mare was beaten too on her debut last season, her first run under Rules, in a maiden hurdle at Leopardstown when, again, she was keen early on and did well to keep on as well as she did to finish third. She was impressive then in winning her maiden hurdle at Clonmel on her second run, when she made all the running. She didn't run again after that until she ran in the Grade 1 mares' novices' hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, when she ran a massive race to finish second behind her stable companion Telmesomethinggirl, again, after racing keenly early on. The two-and-a-quarter-mile trip on Tuesday on the soft ground, and up Galway's hill, probably wasn't ideal for her, on her seasonal debut. She could be seen to better effect back over two miles and back on a track that suits prominent racers. And she will be of interest if and when she goes back to Cheltenham, where she put up the best performance of her life last March.
Bold Emperor - Galway, 5th October 2021
Bold Emperor was probably unlucky not to win the two-and-a-quarter-mile handicap chase at Galway on Tuesday. Sent to the front from flagfall, his jumping was very good, and he had all his rivals on the stretch as they raced down the hill final time to the last two fences in the dip. Bridge Native and Espion Du Chenet closed on him a little as they raced down the hill, but it looked like Darragh O'Keeffe was just giving his horse a breather. He jumped the second last fence well too, but he just seemed to lose his footing on landing and he came down. It appeared as if he was none the worse for his mishap though, thankfully, as, once he had regained his equilibrium, he went and jumped the final fence without his rider.
This is the third time that Bold Emperor has fallen or unseated his rider in just six runs over fences but, actually, he generally a fluent jumper. He was fairly well exposed over hurdles but, given a chase rating of 112, he has the potential to go higher now as a chaser. Tom Gibney's horse was good in winning his beginners' chase at Sligo last month, when he made all the running, and he will always be of interest if and when it looks like he will be able to engineer an easy lead for himself, especially at a track that favours prominent racers. He probably wouldn't want really deep, winter ground, but he does handle soft ground okay.
Rosmana - Navan, 6th October 2021
Rosmana did well to get as close as she got from the rear in the one-mile fillies' handicap at Navan on Wednesday. Settled in midfield early on by Dylan Browne McMonagle, she got shuffled back in the field a little as they left the back straight, with the result that she was only 11th of the 13 runners as they turned for home. She picked her way through traffic up the home straight, she got a gap at the two-furlong marker and she got into clear sailing at the furlong pole, but Excuzio Joe and Coill Na Sionainne had kicked for home at that point, and they weren't for catching. Even so, Rosmana stayed on well all the way to the line to get to within two and a half lengths of the winner, closest at the finish.
This was a race in which the pace held up well. Coill Na Sionainne and Excuzio Joe were first and second from flagfall, and they fought out the finish, while third-placed Petticoat Rule raced in third place behind them from early and along the inside. Rosmana was the only filly who was able to get close from off the pace. This was just her fourth run for Joseph O'Brien. She had run well on her previous outing in finishing fourth behind My Holy Fox in a nine-furlong fillies' handicap at Punchestown, when she had Coill Na Sionainne behind her. The drop back to a mile on Wednesday was probably a positive, and she won over a mile on very soft ground for Jean-Claude Rouget in France, so she will be of interest if she runs again on turf, on soft ground, before the season is out.
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