Horses To Follow » L'Impresario


There was a lot to like about the performance that Jim Bolger’s debutant L’Impresario put up in landing the 10-furlong maiden that opened proceedings at The Curragh on Sunday. A little keen through the first furlong and a half or so as the pace remained steady, he ended up settling further back in the field than ideal off a relatively sedate pace. It was a little worrying at the time that he was the first of the 11 horses to come off the bridle as they rounded the home turn – indeed, Kevin Manning was positively rowing away fully four furlongs out as most of his rivals sat motionless – but this may have been more down to greenness than any lack of pace, which was perfectly forgivable on his racecourse debut. Switched to the outside at the top of the home straight, his prospects looked quite forlorn two furlongs out as the John Oxx filly Eytarna kicked for home and went two lengths clear, with the Ballydoyle odds-on shot Changingoftheguard in pursuit. L’Impresario had fully five lengths to make up on the leader at that point, but he kept responding to Manning’s urgings, taking it up inside the final 150 yards and coming away impressively to score by two lengths.

This may work out to be a really useful maiden. Third-placed Changingoftheguard had already had a run this season, looking really good in chasing home one-time Derby hope Harbinger in a maiden at Chester, and was obviously well fancied on Sunday. Runner-up Eytarna is out of the remarkable mare Ebaziya, who has already produced Group 1 winners Ebadiyla, Edabiya and Enzeli – she should be worth following as well, as she was also making her racecourse debut here and will certainly improve for it – and the first three pulled well clear of the fourth horse. L’Impresario himself is a half-brother to the highly talented Antonius Pius but, on this evidence, doesn’t seem to have inherited any of the his brother’s quirkiness. The willing attitude that the son of Bernstein displayed was admirable, and he will almost certainly have benefited hugely from this experience, given that it did seem to take a little while for him to realise what was being asked of him as they rounded the home turn. He should be better on better ground, and he can go on from this now. Trainer Jim Bolger said afterwards that he could go down the listed race route, and it would not be at all surprising to see him develop into a group race performer. His dam, Catchascatchcan, won the Yorkshire Oaks and, on Sunday’s evidence, a mile and a half should be within his stamina range.

© The Irish Field, 30th May 2009