Horses To Follow » Scotsirish


Scotsirish put up a fine performance to win the Grade 2 Normans Grove Chase at Fairyhouse on Sunday. The fast pace that Mansony set undoubtedly helped the Willie Mullins-trained gelding – he is a horse who gets further than this extended two-mile trip – and Ruby Walsh made plenty of use of him, which was apparently the plan beforehand. Jumping well, the son of Zaffaran travelled well in behind Mansony, disputing second place with his stable companion Snowy Morning. He moved up to challenge Mansony, travelling well, going around the home turn, jumped the third last a length in front, and stayed on really nicely over the last two fences to post an impressive victory.

Scotsirish is nine now, and he has run 18 times over fences, so he doesn’t have an obvious progressive profile, but this was one of the best performances of his career. The fact that he was able to put in such a performance over a distance that is probably too sharp and on ground that was probably too fast makes it all the more commendable. The time of the race was really impressive, by far the fastest comparative time of the day, more than 0.3secs/furlong faster than Racing Post par and over 11 seconds faster than the time that An Cathaoir Mor clocked in the novices’ chase a half an hour later.

Scotsirish fully deserves his place in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham in March on this showing. It all happened a little quickly for him in the Champion Chase last season, but he was still able to travel well, he jumped well and he was one of only three horses still on the bridle at the third last before Master Minded and Petit Robin quickened away from him on the run to the second last. The extra five furlongs of the Ryanair should help him a lot, and the 33/1 that they are currently offering about him looks big.

17th January 2010