Horses To Follow » Seabass


Seabass put up a nice performance to win a decent two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase at Punchestown on Sunday. The Ted Walsh-trained gelding and the Michael Cunningham-trained Tiernan’s Terror went at each other from a long way out. Seabass did have the advantage of the inside berth, but Tiernan’s Terrot picked up marginally in front at the fourth last and again at the third last, with the result that Ruby Walsh had to ride Seabass out of the fence in order that he maintain the inside going around the home turn. Meanwhile, Stewarts House enjoyed the perfect sit in behind, tracking the two leaders around into the home straight so that, just as Seabass had seen off Tiernan’s Terror, the Arthur Moore’s horse loomed large on the near side. There was a lot to like about the manner in which Seabass battled on the far side over the last, and he came away well on the run-in to win nicely.

You couldn’t begrudge the son of Turtle Island this victory. He would have won a handicap chase at Navan 10 days ago off a mark of 95 had he not come down at the last. He got to race off the same mark on Sunday, and was duly made favourite as a result, but it wasn’t a gimme, this was a decent race, Stewarts House and Tiernan’s Terror are useful animals without perhaps having the scope for progression that Seabass has. The handicapper has raised him 9lb to a mark of 104, which appears harsh on the face of it for a narrow win, but he has the potential to be better than that now. He has run five times now since the beginning of December, he obviously takes his racing well, and he ran a cracker at Thurles last month, before his Navan run, to finish third in a handicap chase on his first attempt at three miles over fences, with Sunday’s Grand National Trial winner Inoma James one place ahead of him in second. The winner of a point-to-point at Horse & Jockey in March 2007, this was Seabass’s first win on the track, but he is still only seven, this was just his seventh run over fences, and he has plenty of scope to improve with this under his belt. As a son of Turtle Island, it is probable that he will need soft ground to be at his best, but he has plenty of options now. He will be interesting wherever he goes next.

31st January 2010

© The Irish Field, 6th February 2010