Horses To Follow » Tarquinius


The first three from the Sussex National, run at Plumpton last Sunday week, Master Overseer, Tarquinius and Shaka’s Pearl, should really be worth keeping an eye on in future but, of the three, runner-up Tarquinius just shades it for me. Noel Fehily had the Turgeon gelding perfectly positioned throughout the early stages of this marathon, just on the outside of leader Radetsky March. The rider was happy to allow the leader get away from him a bit going down the back straight final time. Tarquinius travelled well down the back straight, but he made a momentum-halting mistake at the last fence on the far side as Master Overseer flew it on his outside and wheeled around out of the back straight. He had to get going again and navigate his way around the fading Radetsky March on the crown of the home turn, all of which used up ground and energy, which wasn’t ideal. At least five lengths behind the Pipe horse as they rounded the home turn, Tarquinius quickly made up the ground, took it up over the second last, jumped the last in front and looked set to score, but Master Overseer dug deep on the near side to get up and beat him by a head.

It is difficult to knock the winner. He has only just turned seven, this was just his third chase, he raced wide the whole way, and he rallied doggedly on the run-in after he had been passed to pull victory out of the fire and record his third win on the trot. That said, Tarquinius travelled like the better horse through the race for me. Of course this game is all about jumping, but if he had jumped the last in the back straight as well as he had jumped the other 19 fences, he would surely have won. It was a bad time to make such a mistake, just as Master Overseer was setting sail for home. Tarquinius has also just turned seven, and this was just his fifth start for Charlie Mann. He is a really progressive staying chaser, he stayed this three-mile-five-furlong trip well, and he handles soft ground well. Furthermore, the handicapper has raised him just 4lb for this (he raised the winner 6lb), which leaves him on a mark of 119, which looks lenient to me. He could be one for the Eider Chase run over four miles at Newcastle next month.

3rd January 2010

© The Irish Field, 16th January 2010