Horses To Follow » Scholars Mate

Scholars Mate

Scholars Mate put up a nice performance on his first run for almost two years to land the two-mile handicap hurdle at Punchestown on Wednesday. Held up out the back in the early stages by Ruby Walsh, he jumped well in the main, but a mistake at the third last as the pace was increasing probably left him a bit further back than his rider wanted to be at that stage. No better than seventh as they rounded the home turn with two furlongs and one flight to go, and at least eight lengths behind the leader Mull On The Run who went for home, the Willie Mullins-trained gelding picked up willingly, arrived there almost on terms over the final flight and, despite giving that obstacle plenty of air and landing a little flat-footed, he quickened impressively on the near side to catch the Paul Nolan horse half way up the run-in and win, ears pricked, by two and a half lengths.

This was a decent performance from Scholars Mate on his first run for Willie Mullins and his first for almost two years. The runner-up had won his maiden hurdle three weeks previously, the pair of them were clear of the rest of the field, the winner gave the impression that he won with plenty in hand, and the time was good. Apparently the plan is to go novice chasing next, and that will be interesting.

14th October 2009