Horses To Follow » Asthuria
It is impossible to know whether or not Asthuria would have beaten Shattered Love in the Grade 3 mares’ novices’ hurdle at Fairyhouse last Saturday had she not come down at the final flight. Shattered Love is a strong stayer, but it appeared as if Asthuria was travelling slightly better. Paul Townend hadn’t gone for her, and she still held a slight advantage. It is probable that it would have been close between the pair of them, and that means that both mares’ reputations were enhanced. The pair of them had pulled well clear of Forge Meadow by then, and she was well clear of the rest of the field.
This was Asthuria’s second fall now in her last two runs over hurdles – Shattered Love was the chief beneficiary at Thurles in December too – and that is not ideal. She may have a confidence issue now, but she didn’t seem to suffer from a lack of confidence at her hurdles through this race.
She remains a talented mare. She was third behind Jer’s Girl in the Grade 1 mares’ novices’ hurdle at Fairyhouse last March on her debut for Willie Mullins. She was well beaten by the winner, but she was only beaten a short head by Jessber’s Girl for second. On her debut this season in November, she ran out an impressive winner of her maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse over two and a half mile. She hasn’t been able to build on that, she has fallen on her next two runs, but she probably would have put up a career-best had she not come down at the final flight on Saturday.
She has lots of pace and, she has two-mile pace, but Saturday’s run was over two and a quarter, and she won her maiden over two and a half miles on soft ground, so she is versatile. She is entered in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle but, if she goes to Cheltenham, it makes more sense that she would go for the mares’ hurdle. It is not ideal to be going to Cheltenham on the back of two falls but, if Willie Mullins thinks enough of her to allow her take her chance in the race, she would be an interesting outsider. Looking further ahead, she will be interesting back at Punchestown in April.
4th February 2017