Horses To Follow » Red Moloney

Red Moloney

It must have been strange for Norman Ormiston, owner of runner-up Houston Dynamo, watching his charge going down to the Howard Johnson-trained Red Moloney in a two-mile novices’ hurdle at Musselburgh on Friday, given that he used to own the winner as well.

This was another impressive performance from Red Moloney. The Howard Johnson-trained gelding travelled well under Denis O’Regan throughout, came through nicely to take it up at the second last, and then sprinted clear up the run-in under no more than a slight squeeze from O’Regan. You never know how these high class flat horses are going to take to hurdles when they switch codes, but the evidence that we now have accumulated about Red Moloney suggests that he is enjoying his new challenge.

Rated 109 on the flat, he was good enough to get to within three parts of a length of Yeats in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan last April, and to finish third behind Septimus in the Irish St Leger last September. While he has looked good in going three for three over hurdles to date, it has to be a little bit of a worry in the context of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle that all of those runs were against inferior opposition, all at Murrelburgh. The hussle and bussle of Cheltenham, up and down hills over hurdles, will be a step into the unknown. That said, Johnson won the 2005 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle with another classy recruit from the flat, Arcalis, and he wasn’t even as highly-rated as Red Moloney on the level. A 12/1 shot for the Festival curtain-raiser at present, Red Moloney has to be on your shortlist.

20th February, 2009