Horses To Follow » Pavershooz


There were a couple of interesting performances in the five-furlong heritage handicap at Ayr on Monday. The Mark Loughnane-trained raider Just For Mary was slowly away, as he usually is, and made up good ground late on to snatch second place, which was a fine performance under the 6lb penalty that he picked up for winning the Rockingham at The Curragh on Irish Oaks day. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that the UK mark of 79 off whch he raced, which included his 6lb penalty, is still 1lb below the Irish mark off which he won the Rockingham. Look Busy was marked up by many after being slowly away and finishing well in the centre of the track, but this is how she races, Slade O’Hara was happy to allow Alan Berry’s filly settle in to a rhythm as her rivals blazed, she likes to pass horses late on, as she did in the Temple Stakes. However, it never really looked like she was going to get there. That said, it was a fine effort from out pretty much on her own in the centre of the track on ground that just wasn’t soft enough to bring the others back to her over five furlongs. Also, Alan Berry’s horses are really not in good form at present, and his stable star can do better on softer ground later in the season when hopefully the yard will be firing.

Two others to take out of the race were Aegean Dancer, who travelled really strongly for four furlongs on his first start since April, and River Falcon, who finished best of all to win the race on the near side, again, like Look Busy, on ground that would have been fast enough for him. They didn’t go as fast on the near side early on as they did on the far side, with the result that River Falcon finished no better than third overall.

However, it is important not to overlook the blindingly obvious in these instances and, as is often the case, if there was just one horse to take out of the race for me, it was the winner Pavershooz. Fast away from stall four on the far side, Duran Fentiman was able to take an early lead from Captain Dunne, but he sat on the leader’s withers through the early stages of the race, one off the rail and no more than three parts of a length behind. Even so, the leader was never going fast enough for Pavershooz. Fentiman allowed him stride on at the two-furlong pole and he quickly went a length up. If looked as if Aegean Dancer was travelling better at the furlong pole, but Pavershooz was only just getting going, and he picked up impressively to put more than two lengths between himself and his pursuers before keeping on really strongly to win by a length and a half.

It was interesting to listen to Pavershooz’s trainer Noel Wilson being interviewed afterwards. He said that he was just a big baby, a big raw horse who is still learning about the game, that he doesn’t gallop him at all at home and that he is improving with every race. This is backed up by his recent record. He has now won three of his last four starts, his one defeat coming when he was second at York on his penultimate run when he was stepped up to six furlongs. Given the early pace that he showed here, five furlongs is his optimum. This was the best performance of his career to date, and he is almost certainly better than he was able to show here. He won by a length and a half from a well-handicapped rival, but he probably had plenty more left to give. He is in the Skybet Dash at York on Saturday, in which he would be really interesting under a penalty, but his trainer said that he will probably skip that and be prepared for the Portland at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting. That race is run over five furlongs and 140 yards, which should be just about ideal. It will be interesting to see what the handicapper does to Pavershooz for this, but hopefully he won’t be too harsh, and he will remain a well-handicapped performer. He is very interesting.

20th July 2009