Horses To Follow » Trafford Lad

Trafford Lad

Although finishing well back in the end, Trafford Lad looked much better in the Hennessy at Leopardstown on Saturday than he had looked in his previous performances this season, and he may be getting back to somewhere near his best now. He settled well for Andrew Lynch just out the back of the nine-runner field in the early stages, before he began to make progress up towards the leaders when they headed down the back straight for the second time. He joined Joncol in around fourth position, and the more the race went on the better he seemed to travel, so much so that he was third at the third last and had moved into second place at the second last fence. He looked like he was going to run a massive race at that point, even when the winner Kempes improved up past him, but he just got tired on the run to the last, where he made a bad mistake which almost stopped him dead. He looked very tired on the run in, and he faded fairly badly out of contention in the end, but the Butler family can take positives from the way he travelled into the race and jumped around

Trafford Lad has been fairly disappointing this season, he was pulled up in Grade 1 Champion Chase on his seasonal debut, he couldn’t get in to the slowly-run John Durkan won by Tranquil Sea at Fairyhouse and he could only finish a distant sixth to Follow The Plan in a Grade 2 chase at Thurles. But it is perhaps understandable that he has been slow to come to so far this season, given that last season he was out with a bad tendon injury. This was a much better effort than his three previous three, he would have finished closer had he not made that mistake at the last.

The injury he suffered last season was unfortunate because he looked really good on his seasonal debut, when finishing a close third to Tranquil Sea and Joncol, who both went on to frank that form, with Tranquil Sea going on to take the Paddy Power Chase at Cheltenham’s open meeting on his subsequent run.

The son of Tragic Role is a bit of a forgotten horse but he is not far off top class on his day, he was third to Fiveforthree in the 2008 Ballymore Properties Hurdle at Cheltenham and he was able to beat Forpadydeplasterer by five and a half lengths in the 2008 Drinmore Chase at Fairyhouse. Perhaps surprisingly, he is still only nine years old, and he has only run 11 times over fences in his life. There is still time for him. Also perhaps surprisingly, he has never won over three miles or more. He has always had the look of a staying chaser, but it may be that he doesn’t truly get three miles. All his best runs have been over two and a half miles on easy ground. In fact, all his wins over hurdles and fences, with the exception of one race that he got in the stewards’ room, have been over two miles four furlongs or two miles six furlongs, and he would be of interest now dropped back a little in trip, especially on easy ground. He would also be interesting off his current mark of 145 in a handicap chase.

12th February 2011