Horses To Follow » Hamish McGonagall

Hamish McGonagall

Hamish McGonagall ran a lot better than his finishing position suggests in the Group 3 Goffs Flying Five at The Curragh on Sunday. Always handy and towards the far side, he was short of room a couple of times through the final two furlongs when his rider David Allen wanted to go forward, once when Glamorous Spirit came across him slightly just inside the two-furlong pole, and again when Benbaun moved to his left a furlong out. The net result was that Allen had to switch him all the way across to the far side, furthest of all from the favoured stands rail, in order that he could get room to deliver his challenge. By the time he did, however, it was all too late, Astrophysical Jet had shot through a gap on the near side and quickened up to win nicely. However, Hamish McGonagall finished best of all down the centre of the track, and was actually in front 100 yards after the line.

It is almost always an advantage to race close to the stands rail on the sprint track at The Curragh, and Sunday was no exception, so Tim Easterby’s gelding did well to go so close from his draw in stall 13 of the 15 runners and racing down the centre of the track. He just didn’t have the easy early pace to maintain his early position in the front rank to the three-furlong pole against some real speedsters, but he doesn’t have to lead, and he looked very strong from the middle part of the race on. If he had enjoyed a clear run, even though he was racing out in the centre, he would almost certainly have gone close to beating Astrophysical Jet, even though she was a clear two-length winner.

Winner of a big five-furlong handicap at York’s Ebor meeting on his previous start, the son of Namid is in the form of his life. He was rated a career-high 109 coming into this race but, on this evidence, that mark still under-estimates his ability. He is worthy of his place in Group races, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see him pick up a big five-furlong prize during this Indian summer before the ground turns. He will be of interest wherever he runs next, either in a Pattern race or in a big handicap, as long as the ground is good or better, and he may just be under-rated on the back of this run.

29th August 2010

© The Irish Field, 4th September 2010