Horses To Follow » Prolinx


Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty captured the headlines at Southwell’s all-bumper card on Wednesday, but the Charlie Mann-trained Prolinx was the horse to take out of the day for me. Some of the right British bumper yards were represented in this contest, and extra spice was added to the race by the addition of Willie Martin, sent over from Michael O’Hare’s yard just outside Castlebellingham in County Louth, and backed down from an opening show of 11/1 to an SP of 6/1. It was the Irish raider who set the early pace, a heavily sedated one, so much so that Prolix shook his head violently from side to side for at least a furlong in an effort to have Noel Fehily allow him go a bit quicker. In fact, the Charlie Mann horse pulled for his head for almost a full circuit just behind the leader until the pace quickened and he joined the leader at the end of the back straight final time. Still on a tight rein at the top of the home straight as all of his rivals – with the exception of the 50/1 shot Lombardy Boy, whose rider lost his iron two furlongs out and was unshipped – came under pressure, the only question was, how much would Prolinx find off the bridle, given how hard he had pulled in the early stages of the race. Admittedly, the son of Oscar was best positioned (in the front rank) at that point given that the pace had been so slow, but he picked up impressively when Fehily gave him a squeeze two and a half furlongs out to put daylight between himself and his pursuers. Inner Steel did mount a challenge of sorts inside the final 100 yards, but Fehily had had a peak around him inside the final furlong and appeared to be intent on giving Prolinx as easy a time as possible. The winning margin of a head flatters the runner-up greatly.

The figures for this race will not make impressive reading. There were five bumpers run over two miles at Southwell on Wednesday and this was the slowest of the lot by some way, almost 10 seconds slower than the next slowest, which was quite remarkable given that there was less than four seconds between the fastest and the slowest times of the other four races. Nevertheless, there was a lot to like about the manner in which Prolinx did this. The slow pace was probably all against him, a strapping son of Oscar out of an Executive Perk mare who herself won a bumper. He is obviously a hard puller at home, given that he wore a cross-noseband here on his racecourse debut, so he should be seen to much better effect off a faster early gallop. He travelled into the straight like the best horse in the race, he impressed with the manner in which he picked up, he pricked his ears when he hit the front and he kept going all the way to the line under no more than a hands and heels ride. The runner-up is a point-to-point winner, the third horse, Tiger Bay, hailed from the Noel Chance yard, always to be feared in these contests, even though he was weak enough in the market, and the front three pulled clear of the Nicky Henderson-trained favourite, Chef Junior. There should be much more to come from Prolinx, he looks cheap now at £30,000, and it will be interesting to see where he goes next.

13th January 2010

© The Irish Field, 16th January 2010