Horses To Follow » Dibella


Dibella ran a cracker from 7lb out of the handicap in the Leopardstown November Handicap on Sunday and she looks worth noting now if she goes back over hurdles. Held up towards the rear, Paul Nolan’s filly travelled kindly for Marc Monaghan, moving nicely forward as they turned out of the back straight and arriving in the firing line at the top of the home straight. She stuck to the far side though, which is always where the worst of the ground is when it gets soft at Leopardstown, as the race developed on the near side. Even at that, she was only beaten three lengths, whereas the other few to stay over towards the far side rail were all well beaten off. The winner, Hidden Universe, is a winner of a Grade 1 bumper, was second in a Grade 1 novice hurdle, and was a warm order here. Dibella was racing off an effective mark of 81 here (though Marc Monaghan was claiming 7lb) so she looks potentially well handicapped on a mark of 112 over hurdles.

The daughter of Observatory was a decent hurdler last season, she was a tidy winner of a big-field maiden hurdle at Navan in March before going on to run fourth in a Grade 3 race. She did disappoint when favourite for a handicap hurdle on her next and final start last season, so it was most encouraging to see her back and run so creditably here on the level. She is only four and she has raced just four times over hurdles, so she has plenty of scope for progression. She is a half-sister to Dirar, who was a mid-90s rated performer on the Flat, but who didn’t take to hurdles immediately. He was well beaten on each of his first five hurdle runs, resulting in him being given an opening handicap mark over timber of 102, and he really started to improve when switched to handicaps, winning four of his next five hurdle starts before being placed in two consecutive Galway Hurdles, and winning the Ebor off a mark of 100.

Dibella has taken better to hurdles than Dirar initially did. On what she has done already over hurdles she looks to be nicely handicapped off 112, even allowing for that poor sole handicap run to date, so with the promise of this run in the November Handicap to transfer back over hurdles, and with the potential for progress now that she is older and has experience of hurdling, as was the case with Dirar, she will be interesting now if Nolan goes down the handicap hurdle route with her.

6th November 2011