Horses To Follow » Dorset Square

Dorset Square

Dorset Square put up a good performance in winning the two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse on Saturday. Held up towards the back of the field by Paul Townend in the early stages, his jumping was low and fast, and he made his ground along the inside up the back straight. Travelling best of all at the third last, he made a slight mistake there, but he was still able to move up just behind the leaders, still on the steel, around the home turn. Third at the second last, he joined leader Dancing Hero on the approach to the last, jumped that flight well and went a length and a half up before idling and just hanging on by a head from the rallying runner-up.

This was still a fine performance. He travelled like the best horse in the race, he made his ground nicely, he put the race to bed with a race-winning move over the last before he idled, the front pair pulled nine lengths clear of their rivals, and the time was very good, over six seconds faster than the time of the maiden hurdle earlier on the card, and the only time that dipped below Racing Post par on the day. No better than an ordinary novice hurdler last year – he did make the trip to Cheltenham last March, but he was a 200/1 shot in the Ballymore Properties Hurdle – the son of Fantastic Light seems to have improved dramatically since joining Willie Mullins at the end of the summer. He has progressed steadily in four runs now since arriving at Closutton, his run to finish second to second to Colbert Station at Leopardstown on Irish Champion Hurdle day off a mark of 103 being his best run before this. This was a significant step up on that, however, off a 7lb higher mark, and he gives the impression that he can improve again. The handicapper has raised him another 9lb to a mark of 119, but he is only six and he should be progressive enough to be able to cope with a hike of that magnitude. Mullins said after this race that he will keep him to good handicaps now in which he can carry low weights, which is interesting. It would not be surprising if he was entered in the Coral Cup. Even if he gets a couple of pounds’ bonus from the British handicapper, he would still get into that race on a low weight. He should be okay on better ground (he won his maiden hurdle on good to firm ground) and his hold-up style of racing would be well suited to a Coral Cup. The two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle at Aintree is another option. He does get three miles, but this looks like his optimum trip, and he will be interesting now when he steps up in class, wherever that will be.

20th February 2010

© The Irish Field, 27th February 2010