Horses To Follow » Beach Bunny

Beach Bunny

You have to commend Pat Flynn’s remarkably game mare She’s Our Mark for her performance in landing the Meld Stakes at Leopardstown last Thursday evening, following up on her success in a Listed race at The Curragh on Oaks weekend, but the performance of Beach Bunny in fourth place may have been just as meritorious, and may have gone a little under the radar.

Lady O’Reilly’s filly travelled really well in mid-division in the early stages, perhaps just a tiny bit keen if anything. She travelled best of all turning for home, and was the only one of the eight runners still on the bridle as they straightened up. From there, however, things didn’t pan out ideally. Chris Hayes seemed to be keen to angle his filly out towards the outside of Casual Conquest to deliver his challenge, but She’s Our Mark improved on her outside to take up that position, with the result that Hayes had to go inside the Weld horse. That wasn’t ideal. When the ground rides soft at Leopardstown, it is usually the case that the wider you are in the home straight, the better the ground is, and that appeared to be the case on Thursday.

All evening, horses were finishing well up the outside, sometimes finishing in a near perfect diagonal line from the outside in. Beach Bunny probably ended up racing on ground that was softer in the middle of the track than the ground on which both She’s Our Mark and Lord Admiral raced, and she just couldn’t pick up like that pair could. Even so, she kept on well to finish fourth, just over three lengths behind the winner, and just two lengths behind Group 1 winner Casual Conquest despite the fact that she was eased through the final 100 yards.

On her last run before Thursday, Beach Bunny went down by just a short head to the top class Dar Re Mi, after being carried across the track, with Oaks winner Look Here a length back in third place in the Pretty Polly Stakes at The Curragh. Okay, so that race was run at an unusually sedate pace, and the Kevin Prendergast filly raced up with the pace the whole way, which was to her advantage, but it was still a fine performance. She is by High Chaparral out of a Peintre Celebre mare, so you would have thought that she would get a mile and a half well, but she has only been tried over that distance once (when she dead-heated for second place with Profound Beauty in the Noblesse Stakes at Cork last year), and she travels so well in her races over 10 furlongs that that distance is probably her optimum. Faster ground would allow her settle better off the faster pace that that would produce.

She is in the Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and, while that is aiming high, she would be an interesting outsider in that if she took her chance.

23rd July 2009

©  Irish Field, 1st August 2009