Horses To Follow » Prince Of Fire

Prince Of Fire

Prince Of Fire probably didn’t get due recognition for finishing so close up behind Some Present and Sweeps Hill on his first run over hurdles at Punchestown at the end of October. In fairness, that was a strange race, run at a walking pace, and it was legitimate that the form of the race be treated with a certain degree of indifference. However, there was nothing indifferent about the performance that Prince Of Fire put up in landing the four-year-old maiden hurdle at Leopardstown last Sunday.

Sent to the front from flagfall by David Casey, Timmy Hyde’s gelding set a decent pace and jumped fluently throughout with the exception of a slight mistake at the second last, which enabled Stoned Immaculate to get closer, but Prince Of Fire was soon back on the bridle going around the home turn. Grey Soldier loomed up on the near side as a real danger under a motionless Davy Russell as they straightened up for home, but Prince Of Fire kicked again when Casey got into the drive position, and it was soon apparent that Grey Soldier wasn’t going to get even close to him as the Charlie Swan-trained gelding powered clear and ran all the way up the hill to the line.

The form of this race is solid. The runner-up, a son of Galileo, won a listed race at Deauville over a mile on his previous start, and was well backed for this, his debut for Gigginstown House and Gordon Elliott, and Prince Of Fire beat him well. It wasn’t easy making all the running, and the fact that the last flight was omitted because of the low sun, and the misfortune that befell Secant Star at the obstacle in the previous race, didn’t help a good-jumping front-runner, but there was a lot to like about the attitude that the winner displayed. Winner of his only point-to-point when well backed, he could progress to be very good over hurdles. He has plenty of pace, yet he stays the minimum trip so well that it wouldn’t be surprising if he were to be even better over further in time, a supposition backed up by the fact that he is out of an Acatenango mare. Trainer Charlie Swan has always held him in really high regard, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next.

27th December 2009