Horses To Follow » Topolski


Topolski’s victory in the Grade 2 Top Novice Hurdle at Aintree last week was probably even better than it looked because of the way the race was run and the position he found himself in at the top of the straight. Despite there being a clear leader, they went a very modest pace through majority of this two-mile event, and it essentially came down to a bit of a sprint up the straight, for which Topolski was far from ideally positioned towards the rear having got squeezed back on exiting the back straight. He knuckled down well to the task though and went about his business of chasing down the Sean Byrne-trained mare Oilily, who had kicked for home. He was level by the last and had enough speed and tenacity to catch the mare on the run-in and get home by three parts of a length. There were six lengths back to Sire De Grugy, previously unbeaten over hurdles, and with the Imperial Cup winner Alarazi a further seven lengths back in fourth place, the form of the race has a really solid look. The thing that was even more encouraging is the way in which the front two put so much ground between themselves and the rest in such a short space of time. Topolski has clearly taken very well to hurdling and has just the right attitude for the job.

It was a huge run from Oilily as well, but this was just Topolski’s third run over hurdles and the sky is the limit now. He stayed two miles well on the flat so it is slightly surprising he shows so much pace over hurdles. His first run was seriously impressive for the way he quickened past two good horses in Megastar and Lifestyle from the top of the straight at Sandown to quickly put a deal of ground between himself and them, admittedly off a fairly sedate early pace. He had to sustain his acceleration for much longer here and perhaps wasn’t as flash, but he got the job done well. Rated 90 on the flat after winning a good two-mile handicap at Chester last September off a mark of 86, he would have more class than a lot of good hurdlers to have come off the flat and he jumps his hurdles very fluently which will stand him in good stead whichever route he is to take next year. He may race on the flat during the summer, and he will be of interest if he does, but he will be of even greater interest when he returns over hurdles next autumn.

8th April 2011