Horses To Follow » First Cat

First Cat

First Cat ran a cracker to finish second to Sea Lord in a Class 2 one-mile handicap at Newmarket on Friday. Richard Hannon’s gelding missed the start by a few lengths and so was forced to travel well out the back for rider Frankie McDonald. He travelled well through race, made good ground between horses and looked the most likely winner entering the final furlong, he traded as short as 1.25 in running when he came to challenge the all the way leader Sea Lord, but he just couldn’t get past.

First Cat was completely unfancied in the betting, he was allowed to go off at 33/1, even though the Hannon horses are flying, but he still looked the most likely winner a furlong out. Sea Lord is a good horse, he won a big handicap at the Curragh previous to this and he looks like a really progressive type, but everything went his way here, Amy Ryan excelled on him and was allowed to set a sedate pace, up front and that made it difficult for the hold-up horses to get into the race.

This was First Cat’s fourth placing in his last four runs, but it may not be that he doesn’t want to go past, Sea Lord is a typically tough Mark Johnston horse who is difficult to pass and who was allowed his own way up front. Also, the impression remains that the far side of the track at Newmarket’s July meeting, where First Cat challenged, was slower than the middle, where Sea Lord ran. Also, First Cat is blind in his right eye, so it wasn’t ideal for him that he challenged to the left of Sea Lord, it meant that he couldn’t see his rival. It may be better for him in future if he can challenge to the right of his main rival. That said, this was a career-best from First Cat, and he will be interesting next time, when he may still be under-rated. He stays a mile really well and probably wants fast ground to be seen at his best.

9th July 2010