Horses To Follow » Jewel Of The West

Jewel Of The West

Jewel Of The West ran an eye-catching race in the two-mile novices’ handicap hurdle that opened the Fairyhouse Easter Festival on Sunday. Held up well out the back by Paul Carberry, he had to make his ground on the outside around the home turn as the pace increased. Fully eight or 10 lengths behind the leaders and no better than 13th jumping the second last, he made relentless progress on the stands side between the last two flights. He managed to avoid the flailing legs of Pay The Ferryman, who fell at the last, but he still had three lengths to make up on Sarteano as they set off up the run-in, and that one found lots for pressure, keeping on well to deny the fast-finishing Jewel Of The West by a neck, with the pair of them coming three lengths clear of the third horse.

Good ground and a fast pace over two miles obviously suit the runner-up well, and if they had gone a stride quicker through the early stages of this contest, he may well have prevailed. His two wins to date have been on good and firm ground, and he ran well to finish third in a decent handicap hurdle on good ground at Gowran Park last October. He was disappointing on his last run before Sunday when sent off as co-favourite for a similar contest at Punchestown a week and a half later, but that was on unsuitably soft ground.

He could be well suited to summer jumping now. He is only five, and has a nice progressive profile. There could be a decent handicap hurdle at Punchestown or at Galway in him. He raced off a mark of 107 on Sunday, he is sure to get a couple of pounds for that performance, and he wouldn’t have to improve a great deal more in order to sneak in at the bottom of the weights in the Galway Hurdle. Given that he is trained by Noel Meade, that contest is bound to be at least on the radar, and he wouldn’t be without a chance in the race if it were run on good or fast ground.

12th April 2009