Horses To Follow » Tilabay


Tilabay ran out a nice winner of the big two-mile handicap hurdle at Listowel on Monday. Settled in midfield by Ruby Walsh in the early stages, the Willie Mullins-trained gelding jumped well, made nice ground around the bottom bend, joined the leader Der Spieler over the second last, moved into the lead between the final two flights, ears pricked, and stuck on well up the run-in despite fluffing the last flight a little, as Siberian Tiger gave vane chase, to post an impressive win.

Tilabay is immaculately-bred, by Sadler’s Wells out of a Darshaan mare, a daughter of the top class Timarida. He didn’t run for John Oxx, and didn’t win for his previous trainer Adrian Sexton, although he did finish third behind Tharawaat in a Grade 3 juvenile hurdle at Fairyhouse, and fourth behind Lethal Weapon in the Grade 1 juvenile hurdle at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival last year. Owner Shane Buggy reported on Monday that he had had a problem with his back, which has obviously been sorted now. The four-year-old had run just twice for Mullins before Monday, both times on the flat, winning his maiden over a mile and a half at Wexford in early August before getting beaten when a warm favourite for a qualified riders’ race at Laytown, inevitably over seven furlongs, a distance that was almost certainly too sharp. This was his first start over hurdles, then, for Mullins, and he had apparently schooled him just once since he got him, and that was on the morning of the race. The handicapper is certain to give him a fair hike now from his rating of 116, but he has huge potential for progression and he should be able to take a reasonable hike in his stride. He obviously handles this soft ground well, but he won his maiden on the flat on good to yielding (flat) ground, so he appears to be fairly versatile. Mullins won this race last year with Sesenta, who raced off a mark of 113 then and is now rated 136. She also won an Ebor off a flat rating of 94. There is no telling how high Tilabay can go, but it would not be at all surprising if he were to improve as much as Sesenta has over hurdles. Also, his flat rating of 86 looks more than fair. He is an exciting prospect now, and he should be worth following wherever he goes next.

14th September 2009

© The Irish Field, 19th September 2009