Horses To Follow » Shintoh


Shintoh put up a nice performance to win the last race at Navan on Sunday. The son of Giant’s Causeway tracked a good pace that was set by Wayne Lordan on Orpailleur through the early stages, and moved up to take it up passing the two-furlong pole. At that point, it looked as if Encompassing was travelling best of all. The Aidan O’Brien-trained colt moved ominously between Orpailleur and Barack to get in behind Shintoh as Kevin Manning went for home on the leader, and looked a big danger passing a furlong out, but Shintoh responded gamely to Manning’s urgings, and galloped on resolutely up the hill to post an impressive victory.

This was a good one-mile conditions race, despite the fact that there were only four runners. Orpailleur ensured that there was a decent pace, which suited Shintoh and enabled him post a good time, over two and a half seconds faster than standard. The ground was fast at Navan on Sunday, faster even than the official description of good to firm according to race times, but this was still a quick time, the fastest comparative time on the day by some way. Also, Encompassing set a fair standard, a son of Montjeu and Sophisticat who had stayed on well to win his maiden at Limerick in April and who had been beaten just over four lengths by Derby hope Azmeel in the Dee Stakes at Chester on his previous run. He would have been meeting Shintoh on 7lb better terms if this had been a handicap, and consequently it was understandable that he was sent off as favourite to win this, but Shintoh beat him on merit.

The Jim Bolger-trained colt is very interesting now for the season ahead. Fourth in Kingsfort’s maiden on his racecourse debut last July, he stayed on well to win his own maiden over seven furlongs at Cork on his only subsequent run as a juvenile, leaving the impression that he would be better over further as a three-year-old. He was making his seasonal debut on Sunday, he was stepping up to a mile for the first time, he was racing on the fastest ground that he had ever encountered, and he put up his best performance yet. He handled the ground well, and he seemed to appreciate the greater test of stamina, staying on really well up Navan’s stiff incline to pull clear of his rivals. He is really well bred, a half-brother to 2000 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner War Chant, and to Ivan Denisovich, winner of the Solonoway Stakes over a mile and third in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby. He should have no difficulty getting 10 furlongs on this evidence. He was disappointing in the Gallinule Stakes at The Curragh on Sunday, but it is probable that that race came up too quickly for him after Navan, and he remains an exciting prospect.

16th May 2010

© The Irish Field, 22nd May 2010