Horses To Follow » Psycho


The raising of the weights by 8lb combined with the good ground – the rain just hadn’t got into the ground sufficiently in time for the race – to undo Psycho’s bid to land the Pierse Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday. He was settled out the back in the early stages, made his ground through his field and arrived there at the last with what looked like a winning challenge. However, the leader Penny’s Bill pulled out plenty on the run-in to just about withstand the challenge.

Three strides after the line Psycho was up. If Newmill had run in the race, the weights wouldn’t have gone up and Psycho would have been giving Penny’s Bill 14lb instead of the 20lb that he had to give him in the end, plus Sean Flanagan’s allowance, and that was surely the difference between victory and defeat. Although Psycho was well backed, there was a vibe that Tony Martin just didn’t have him as right as he wanted to. If that is the case, he should be well able to cope with the inevitable hike in the ratings that is forthcoming.

The son of Dr Massini is almost certainly better than the rating of 127 off which he raced on Sunday. Also, although he is eight years old, he has only run 11 times now over hurdles, and he remains progressive. His style of racing should be well suited to the Totesport Trophy at Newbury on February 7th, if Martin decided to target that race. That race is often run on soft ground, they invariably go a fair lick, and recent winners of that contest, Decoupage, Landing Light, Spirit Leader, Geos and Heathcote, were all held up well off the pace.

Psycho raced off a mark of 131 in the County Hurdle the last time he raced in the UK. If the UK handicapper still keeps his own ratings of Irish horses, as he says, and doesn’t take any cognisance of the mark that the Irish handicapper gives them, then he can’t have raised Psycho very much from his County Hurdle run given that the winner, Silver Jaro, who beat Psycho by three parts of a length at Cheltenham, hasn’t won in five attempts over hurdles since, and was well beaten in the Greatwood Hurdle off a 7lb higher mark on his only other run in the UK. If Psycho is left on a UK mark of close to 131, he could be a major player in the Totesport.

11th January, 2009