Horses To Follow » Ainama


Ainama looked really good in landing a division of a two-mile novices’ hurdle at Kempton on Saturday. He travelled really well through the race, if a little keenly, jumped well for a debutant, travelled like the winner between the last two flights and then found plenty when he was challenged by Hebridean over the last with no more than a little squeeze from McCoy.

The Desert Prince gelding was a really useful horse on the flat when trained by Michael Wigham, winning six times and earning a rating of 95. He was still progressing at the end of last season. Indeed, the handicapper hiked him up 13lb for giving Dr Sharp a cosy beating in a two-mile race at Chester on his final run on the flat last August, so it is probable that he is still improving.

He proved on Monday that he has an aptitude for jumping hurdles, he is only five, and the fact that he was bought privately from his previous owner by the McManus/Henderson team can only be a positive. Cheltenham is the only objective, and the fact that Ainama made his hurdling debut at Kempton may not be a coincidence given Henderson’s affinity with the track for his Cheltenham prospects. The time of the race was good, the joint best comparative time of the day and almost nine seconds faster than the other division of this race, which is even more impressive given the fact that Ainama probably had significantly more in him if more had been required. He is a hugely exciting prospect and best odds of 14/1 about him for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle are more than fair.

© The Irish Field, 31st January, 2009