Horses To Follow » Ainama


Ainama ran a lovely race to finish fifth behind the impressive winner Lie Forrit in the Pertemps qualifier at Newbury on Friday. Prominent early on on the inside, his jumping was good, but he drifted back down through the field down the far side when the pace increased as Marodima turned the screw from the front. No better than ninth or 10th but still apparently travelling well on leaving the back straight, he was only about three lengths behind the winner jumping the third last. He couldn’t improve with Lie Forrit up the home straight, but he did keep on well on the near side under a caring enough ride to finish fifth, beaten just two lengths for third.

This was JP McManus’s gelding’s first run since Punchestown last April, and his attempt at three miles, so it is understandable that AP McCoy rode him conservatively. Rated 95 on the flat, he was an interesting recruit to hurdles last season, looking useful when he beat Hebridean at Kempton in January, and then putting up his best performance when finishing a close third to Bouggler in the Grade 2 Mersey Novices’ Hurdle over two and a half miles at Aintree in April. He proved here that he stays three miles over hurdles, which is hardly surprising given that he stayed two miles on the flat, so that opens up a multitude of options, including the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival in March, although it may be that he proves to be at his best on a flat track. He looked before this race as if he would come on for the run, he is still only five and has now run just six times over hurdles, so he should be improving anyway. A mark of 139 (the handicapper can’t really touch him for this performance) could under-estimate his ability considerably, and he will be interesting wherever he runs next.

27th November 2009

© The Irish Field, 5th December 2009