Horses To Follow » Alice Bradys Call

Alice Bradys Call

Alice Bradys Call belied his odds of 33/1, outsider of seven and almost three times the price of the sixth favourite, with a huge run to finish third in the Grade 2 two mile novices’ hurdle at Fairyhouse on Sunday.

Kicked off a distinct and apparently very deliberate last, with clear daylight between himself and the second last horse through the early stages, the six-year-old’s jumping was far from fluent. He was slow at the first, and he hit the second, the third and the fifth flights. On the approach to the third last, just as the pace was increasing, he moved up nicely on the outside in order to get competitive, but he slowed into the flight, jumped it quite deliberately, and then appeared to get caught up in a little bit of backwash as Donnas Palm and Fosters Cross got entangled.

That would have been enough to end any horse’s chance at that stage of the race, and you wouldn’t have been surprised if the 33/1 shot had dropped tamely away from that point, as 33/1 shots are apt to do. However, Alice Bradys Call was only getting going. He sat in behind, still last of the seven runners, and tacked over towards the inside rail as they rounded the home turn. Another deliberate jump at the second last presented him with an uphill struggle as Kempes set off in pursuit of long-time leader Dundrum. At least six lengths behind the leader on the run to the last, he picked up really takingly, jumped the last well at full pelt and stayed on well all the way to the line to take third. He probably wasn’t gaining a great deal on the winner Kempes on the run-in, but he got to within three-parts of a length of eventual runner-up Dundrum, and he pulled clear of his other four rivals.

Off the track for 60 days at the behest of the stewards after he finished down the field at Fairyhouse last June, the son of Theatrical returned to the track at Killarney in August, where he stayed on well to beat Cuan Na Grai and Teach Nua in a 14-furlong maiden. He didn’t make his debut over hurdles until last December, but he did shape with a great deal of promise on his penultimate run, when he finished second to Quiscover Fontaine at Limerick on heavy ground. He travels so well that you have to think that the better ground suited him on Sunday. Also, as this was only his fourth ever run over hurdles, there has to be even more improvement to come as he becomes more efficient over his obstacles. He is still a maiden over hurdles, so he has any number of options, but he should be well capable of winning at least a Grade 3 and possibly even a Grade 2 contest. He is one for the Punchestown shortlist.

© The Irish Field, 18th April 2009