Horses To Follow » Theola


Theola was well backed to win the two-and-a-quarter-mile handicap at York on Saturday, and she duly got there in the end, although she gave her backers a couple of worries on the way. The early pace wasn’t that strong, they left the steeplechaser According To Pete alone up front on his own really until Mith Hill put it up to him four furlongs out. Theola was well back in the field throughout, Jimmy Quinn had to ride her along for a bit on exiting the back straight and he actually gave her a smack just before they straightened up. It was probably just to get her interested. She was pricking her ears and looking around her at that point, and her rider obviously wanted to go forward. She did pick up and, moved to the outside with three furlongs to go, she did stay on well, but she needed all of Jimmy Quinn’s driving and every yard of the trip to get up and win by a length.

She may not get too much credit for this, it looked like hard work, but she is a thorough stayer who doesn’t have a turn of foot and, as such, she wasn’t suited by the slow early pace. Also, this was a better race than the class suggests. Runner-up Mith Hill had run well to finish third in a higher grade two-mile handicap at Ascot on QE2 day, just a short head behind Woolfall Treasure, when the slow early pace didn’t suit. This was just her eighth race, she is only three, so there is plenty of potential for improvement. She didn’t get off the mark until her previous run, when she won a Class 5 two-mile handicap at Pontefract off a mark of 71, when she won well despite idling once she hit the front. Pontefract is a stiff track, and she saw out the distance well. Stamina is obviously her forte. It is a long way away, but if she were mine I would target her at the two-mile-five-furlong handicap at Glorious Goodwood that another mare, Sweetheart, won this year. In the interim, she will be interesting when she encounters a test of stamina in her grade. The handicapper can’t be too harsh on her for this, she shouldn’t go up too much from the mark of 75 off which she won on Saturday, and she is interesting.

10th October 2009