Horses To Follow » Mourayan


Mourayan ran better than his finishing position in third place suggests in the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown on Sunday. Settled in a nice position by Mick Kinane in third place just behind the pacemakers, he got stuck in a pocket on the inside around the home turn when the pace increased, as first Fergus McIver and then Fame And Glory came around him and, legitimately, held him in. As a result, Kinane found himself in sixth place when they straightened up for home, and facing an uphill struggle. Even so, Mourayan picked up nicely once he found racing room, and closed on the leaders all the way to the line to go down by just a length and a head to Fame And Glory in the end.

I am not a huge fan of putting up unlucky losers, and Fame And Glory was impressive in winning the race, conceding 5lb to boot. He travelled well throughout the race, showed nice pace to move into a challenging position, and stayed on well inside the final furlong. He is unquestionably another one to take out of the race, but there is no angle to him from a betting perspective. The Ballydoyle colt is as short as 5/1 for the Derby now, whereas you can back Mourayan at 20/1, and that may not be an accurate reflection of the difference in their respective abilities.

Winner of his maiden at his second attempt last season, Mourayan was beaten just a half a length by his stable companion Sea The Stars in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes in September, before he ran out a game winner from this year’s Park Express Stakes winner Oh Goodness Me in a listed race over nine furlongs at Leopardstown in November. John Oxx said before Sunday’s race that he would come on for the run, and he has never denied that this fellow could be a Derby horse. He is certainly bred for it, being out of the Kahyasi mare Mouramara, who won three times over a mile and a half, and who has already produced Mourilyan and Mourad, both of whom have won over a mile and a half. Next up for Mourayan, all things being equal, is the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial, a race in which he could get a little closer to Fame And Glory. It may be worthwhile taking the 20/1 about him for the Derby before that race is run.

© The Irish Field, 25th April 2009