Horses To Follow » Quito De La Roque

Quito De La Roque

Quito De La Roque put up a dour staying performance to win a competitive three-mile novices’ handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse in extremely testing ground. Davy Russell settled the six-year-old close to the leaders toward the outside in the early stages behind a fast enough pace given the conditions. The son of Saint Des Saints jumped well throughout and travelled well to the third last, when his rider began to ask him to improve as Hidden Crack and The Burrow Vic went for home. Under serious pressure rounding the home turn as Ad Idem travelled easily on the outside, there was a lot to like about the way the Quito De La Roque battled on as his stamina kicked in, and he made up the ground to challenge Ad Idem at the last, moving on by a length over the last and staying on dourly to hold Ad Idem, with The Burrow Vic back in third.

Michael O’Leary’s gelding clearly relishes these testing conditions – Davy Russell said afterwards that the ground couldn’t be soft enough for him. This was his first handicap and he is most definitely an improving horse. He looked well held when coming off the bridle here, with horses travelling much better than him around him, but he stayed on best of all up the straight. He is a half-brother to Kazal, another dour stayer of Eoin Griffin’s who finished third in a Stayers Hurdle, and he certainly has similar battling qualities. He had previously won a novice listed race at Clonmel under similar conditions managing to stay on again after making a mistake at the last hurdle. He is clearly improving but needs very soft ground over long distances.

Where he goes next is un-surprisingly very much ground dependant. The ground has probably gone for him now this season, but he will be a really interesting staying novice chaser next season and in the future. The Knight Frank Chase at Leopardstown next Christmas, as long as the ground comes up soft or heavy, would be an obvious target. He is only six, so he has plenty of time on his side, but longer term, he could make up into a horse for one of the National, Irish or Welsh or even Aintree.

4th April 2010