Horses To Follow » Peoples Park
Peoples Park put up a nice performance to win the two-mile handicap chase at Fairyhouse on Saturday.
Settled towards the rear of the field by Mark Walsh through the early stages of the race, JP McManus’ horse made nice progress to move into second place behind the clear leader Mister Hotelier on the run to the fifth last fence. A mistake at that obstacle didn’t help, but he was still able to travel well into the home straight, and to close on the leader on the run to the second last. He hit the front on landing over that obstacle and, while he didn’t pull away from his rivals immediately, as Caolaneoin and Art Of Payroll kept on, he did pick up when his rider asked him to. He jumped the final fence well, and he came right away on the run-in, with just one tail-swish, winning nicely in a good time, 0.11secs/furlong faster than Racing Post par and the fastest comparative time on the day by some way. Interestingly, Peoples Park’s time was the only time that dipped below par on the day, and it was over four and a half seconds faster than the time that I Knew Well clocked in winning the handicap chase run a half an hour later over the same course and distance.
The Tom Taaffe-trained gelding has promised plenty, and it may be that now he can deliver on his potential. A decent handicap hurdler two seasons ago, he didn’t get off the mark over fences until his fifth attempt, when he won his beginners’ chase at Ballinrobe in May. Fourth in a good novices’ chase on his return from his summer break in October, this was just his second run back, and it was his best run over fences to date. He should be able to build on this now.
The handicapper raised him by 9lb to a mark of 131, which is not insignificant, but it is still a mark that should be within range. He is only seven and he has raced just seven times over fences, so he has plenty of scope for progression. A winner over two and a half miles, his trainer said afterwards that he could step back up in trip. He does handle soft ground, but he is probably better on goodish ground, and two and a half miles on goodish ground could be optimal for him.
3rd December 2016