Horses To Follow » Marinero


Marinero ran a massive race in the three-mile handicap hurdle that ended proceedings at Aintree on Thursday. Settled in mid-division by David Mullins, he jumped and travelled well throughout. He had to be niggled along a little at the end of the back straight, but he travelled well into the home straight just behind the leaders. He was a little short of room at the third last flight, the first in the home straight, and that may have been the point at which his saddle started to slip. His rider did well to kick his feet out of the irons on the run to the second last, but that obviously cost him at least a little momentum. Also, it obviously meant that the rider could not be as big a help to his horse as he would have been with all tackle intact.

Even so, he was still just behind the front rank on the run to the second last and, effectively riding bare-back, Mullins managed to force him up almost level with leader Call The Cops at the last on the far side. The horse went for a long stride at the final obstacle, however, and he just didn’t get there. He hit the top of the flight and came down.

Of course, it is impossible to know how the Gigginstown House horse would have fared if he hadn’t fallen, but there is a chance that he would have won. Taglietelle did well to win, Gordon Elliott’s horse battled on gamely for Paul Carberry to get up and beat the favourite Call The Cops, but he probably just about got home. He probably just about stayed this three-mile trip. By contrast, there is a chance that Marinero would have been stronger in the finish, even with his rider riding without his irons. It is even more difficult to know how he would have fared if his saddle hadn’t slipped but, given how well he did in the circumstances, there is an even greater chance that he would have won.

This was a big performance by the Tony Martin-trained gelding on his first attempt at three miles over hurdles. Winner of his only point-to-point, he is by Presenting out of an Oscar mare who herself won a point-to-point, so there was every chance that he would improve for stepping up to three miles, and he duly did. He won his maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse last November on soft ground, but he won his bumper at Fairyhouse on good to firm ground, and he obviously coped with the better ground on Thursday really well. He is only six and Thursday’s race was just his fifth over hurdles, so he still has bags of scope for progression. The Irish handicapper raised him 5lb for his Aintree run, which is fair, and he will be of interest now in a three-mile hurdle on good ground off his new mark of 139.

9th April 2015