Horses To Follow » Capal Dubh Alainn

Capal Dubh Alainn

Capal Dubh Alainn put up a fine performance to win a competitive enough Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle run over two miles and six furlongs at Thurles on Sunday. Settled in rear in the early stages by David Splaine, he made nice progress through his field, moved into third place at the third last, took it up around the home turn travelling easily, and careered away from The Hoodoo Remains over the final two flights to win with any amount in hand.

Just a five-year-old, the son of Kalanisi had shaped with a degree of promise on his debut for Liam O’Brien, his first run in almost a year, in a two-and-a-half-mile maiden hurdle at Tramore on New Year’s Day. He did win on the flat and was placed a couple of times over hurdles for Tim Pitt in the UK, but his first run in Ireland was a step up on anything that he had done before, and this was another significant step forward again. The handicapper has raised him 13lb for this, but his new mark of 108 may still under-estimate his ability on the basis of this performance. The time of the race was not bad for the class, over four seconds faster than the novice hurdle run over the same course and distance on the day, and the winner did it well. He seems versatile in terms of ground, he obviously handles this heavy ground well but he won his maiden on the flat on good ground and he ran well on good to firm. He should continue to progress now, he is only five and this was just his seventh run over hurdles, and he will be interesting wherever he goes next.

17th January 2010