Horses To Follow » Admiral Barry

Admiral Barry

It was difficult not to be impressed with the performance that Admiral Barry put up in winning the Amateur Derby at The Curragh on Saturday. He did have a lovely run through the race, Mikey Fogarty got him settled nicely on the inside in mid-division, which allowed him go the shortest route. He tracked the leaders into the straight and picked up nicely two furlongs out. He did have to engineer a little bit of room for himself, he had to be strong to push himself through a gap that was just wide enough a furlong out, but once he was in the clear, he careered away to post a really impressive win.

The son of Kalanisi has shown marked improvement this summer since reverting to the flat. Winless in four runs as a two-year-old and in three runs on the flat as a three-year-old, the Eoin Griffin-trained gelding returned to the flat at Clonmel last May after a fairly fruitless time of it over hurdles, and he hasn’t finished out of the first three in seven runs since. The highlight before Saturday, of course, was his win in the big amateur riders’ handicap at the Galway Festival in July, when he stayed on really well over two miles to get the better of Mount Helicon. That is always a strong race, and it is working out particularly well this year, with the runner-up running out an impressive winner of his maiden hurdle on his only subsequent run, fourth-placed Star Wood, who was well beaten in Saturday’s race, winning a hurdle race on her subsequent run, and sixth-placed Lucky At Last, also well behind on Saturday, winning a novices’ chase back at Galway last month.

A close-up third in a good handicap at Killarney in the interim, Saturday’s run was another significant step forward from John Brennan’s gelding, winning in a time that was two seconds faster than the time that the Group 1 Irish Field St Leger was run over the same course and distance a half an hour earlier. He had the pace to win over a mile and a half on fast ground at Tramore in June, and he picked up impressively here, but he also thrives for a test of stamina, and he handles easy ground. Never a very fluent jumper of hurdles, he seems to be much happier now on the flat, and he can continue to progress. Griffin said that Cesarewitch at Newmarket on 16th October is now the plan, and that makes a lot of sense. The Irish handicapper here has raised him 9lb to a mark of 99, but because that is an early closing race, he will get into it under an arbitrary 4lb penalty, so he will be 5lb well-in. More than that, he has the scope to be even better than his handicap mark, and he should stay the two-and-a-quarter-mile trip well, given how well he stayed on up the hill over two miles at Galway. He is short enough for the Cesarewitch now at 10/1, but he will be a big player in the race if he makes the line-up.

11th September 2010

© The Irish Field, 18th September 2010