Horses To Follow » Carrickmines


Carrickmines ran out a good winner of the Fobra Gold Cup, a Class 3 three-mile handicap chase at Ludlow on Thursday. Set off out the back by Andrew Glassonbury, he was last of the 12-strong field going down the back straight first time, even behind the reluctant Heathcliff, and it didn’t look promising, so much so that he traded at 9/1 in-running. He did warm to his task, however and, moved to the outside, he made nice ground down the back straight despite not jumping that fluently. He put it up to leader Kilcrea Asla around the home turn, went on going to the third last, and soon had all his rivals in trouble. He stayed on well over the last two fences and, despite a bit of a heart-stopper at the last, went on to win impressively.

Carrickmines used to be a bit of a tearaway, according to his trainer Dr Richard Newland, which is probably why he wears a cross noseband. This was his 13th race over fences, and he is eight, but he seems to be progressing again now this season (he hasn’t been out of the first three now in eight runs over fences since November), he seems to be settling better in his races with the result that he can perform better, and he seems to have improved for stepping up to three miles. He had won a conditional jockeys’ race over this course and distance eight days previously, for which the handicapper had raised him 7lb, but he didn’t carry any penalty on Thursday, he was able to race off a mark of 106, 1lb out of the handicap. He will go up to his new rating of 112 now, and he may get a couple more pounds on top of that for this win, but he won with plenty in hand here, and it was a good race for the class. The easy fences at Ludlow suit him well, you would have to worry about his jumping over stiffer fences at some of the Grade 1 tracks. Also, he wouldn’t want the ground to be much faster than this good to soft ground, but he stayed this trip well, he could even get further, he could improve again for a stiffer test of stamina on this evidence and, as long as the handicapper isn’t too harsh, he will be of interest wherever he goes next.

4th March 2010