Horses To Follow » An Cathaoir Mor

An Cathaoir Mor

There was a lot to like about the performance that An Cathaoir Mor put up in landing his beginners’ chase at Fairyhouse on Sunday. David Casey settled him towards the rear of the field in the early stages, but the pace was so steady and his jumping was so good that he was soon right in behind the leaders, Casey having to take him back on landing over his fences. Cousin Vinny’s jumping at the head of affairs was a little hesitant and, turning for home, it looked as if both An Cathaoir Mor and Nicanor were going to pose big threats. Both went for the run up the stands rail, which Nicanor secured, with the result that Henry de Bromhead’s horse had to switch into the middle of the track. Cousin Vinny jumped a little to his right over the last, forcing An Cathaoir Mor even further out into the middle of the track. It was never going to be easy making ground on the run-in, given how steadily they went and the fact that the race developed into a bit of a sprint, but An Cathaoir Mor picked up impressively to just get up on do Nicanor by a short head.

The son of Turtle Island was value for much more than the winning margin. He deserved to win his beginners’ chase, having run so well on his previous start to finish a close-up third behind Captain Cee Bee and Zaarito, two leading contenders for the Arkle at Cheltenham, at Naas. Winner of two handicap hurdles last season, he is a good recruit to fences, and he will be fully deserving of his place in the line up for the Irish Arkle if he has sufficient time to recover from his exertions here. The fast pace that they will surely go in that race will suit, his slick jumping will be a huge asset off that faster pace and over Leopardstown’s fences, and he will handle the soft ground well. He does have five lengths to make up on Zaarito on their Naas run, and that will be tough for him if Colm Murphy’s horse takes his chance as well, but he is improving over fences, he could get closer to him, and he should be allowed go off at a much bigger price.

17th January 2010