Horses To Follow » Irish Heartbeat

Irish Heartbeat

While the winner of the Scurry at The Curragh on Sunday, Mountain Coral, is a wholly likeable individual, it may be that the performance of the horse that finished third overall, Irish Heartbeat, was less obvious but was just as commendable. Drawn towards the far side in stall 17, Robbie Burke elected to stay over there and race down the far rail instead of coming near side with the majority of his rivals. He was just on the cusp of the split in the two groups. The lowest drawn horse to go far side was Kingsdale Ocean, who was effectively drawn next door to Irish Heartbeat, while only one horse drawn higher than 17 came near side.

For a while it looked as if the far side had it. Trail-blazer Osterhase went far side, and that group must have been at least two or three lengths clear passing the five-furlong pole. However, by the time they reached the two-furlong pole, it looked like that advantage had been eroded, and Burke could wait no longer. He kicked Irish Heartbeat on past Osterhase and made the best of his way home. Philip Myerscough’s gelding showed a fine turn of foot to go about five lengths clear of his rivals on the far side, but Mountain Coral and Dedo, who raced on the near side, were both just in front when they hit the line.

This was still a fine performance from Irish Heartbeat. Although Osterhase set a fast pace on the far side, only six of the 19 runners raced on that side and, once John Mulhern’s gelding’s challenge wilted, the David Myerscough-trained four-year-old had nothing to carry him further into the race, nothing left with which to race, with the result that he was out on his own for the final two furlongs. By contrast, Mountain Coral didn’t strike the front on the near side until 150 yards out, and that was undoubtedly in his favour.

Irish Heartbeat is a lightly-raced individual, having raced just six times in his life. Unraced as a juvenile, he was an impressive winner of his maiden over a mile at Cork last July. He was a little disappointing on both of his starts this season to date, but this was the first time that he encountered ground that was better than soft this term, and he seemed to appreciate it greatly, putting up probably the best performance of his career. A half-brother to Class Attraction and to She Ann, both of whom have won over nine and 10 furlongs in France, he may be better over seven furlongs or even a mile. The handicapper can’t do a great deal to him for this performance, but it was almost certainly significantly better than the bare form suggests, he is progressive and he should be worth following wherever he goes next.

© The Irish Field, 4th July 2009