Horses To Follow » Cill Rialaig

Cill Rialaig

Noted here before after she finished sixth in the John Smith’s Handicap at Newbury last month, Cill Rialaig is worthy of another mention now after she landed the 10-furlong handicap at Ascot last Saturday. Drawn wide in stall four, she raced freely through the first three furlongs as Steve Drowne didn’t manage to find cover for her until they raced into Swinley Bottom. Four horse-widths off the rail from there, she made nice progress up the side of the track as the field moved wide under the trees, but she was still well back, no better than eighth and about five lengths off the leader, as they turned for home. Drowne pulled her wide from there, and the daughter of Environment Friend picked up impressively as Mountain Pride went for home, ears pricked, and Mutamaashi challenged on the far side. Cill Rialaig swept to the front well inside the final furlong, showing an impressive turn of foot, and had enough momentum to just about withstand the late lunge of Espiritu on the far rail.

Many will take Espiritu out of this race and, in fairness, Jeremy Noseda’s gelding was even further back than Cill Rialaig was when they turned for home. But he had travelled well till then, and he had a largely unchecked run up the far side in the home straight on what was almost certainly the fastest part of the track. He is interesting, but he has to be ridden like this, he is often going to look unlucky, and I am happy that the best horse in the race on the day won. Cill Rialaig continues to progress. This was just the 10th run of her life and she has now won five times – including two bumpers – and only once been out of the first four. The handicapper has given her 7lb for this, which looks harsh enough, given that she only got home by a nose, but she can be marked up a fair bit on the bare performance, and she is probably progressive enough anyway to take a hike of that magnitude in her stride. She is at her best at 10 furlongs, appears to be at home on all grounds within the extremes and on all surfaces, and she is interesting wherever she goes next.

4th October, 2009