Horses To Follow » Fisher Bridge

Fisher Bridge

Fisher Bridge ran a cracker to finish second to Golden Kite in the Munster National at Limerick on Sunday. Held up just behind the front rank by Davy Condon in the early stages, the Noel Meade-trained gelding jumped well, travelled well into the home straight, tracked long-time leader Golden Kite down to the second last and looked by far the most likely winner when he travelled easily between the last two fences. However, he just got in a little tight to the last, he lost a little momentum whereas Golden Kite flew it on the far side. Even at that, it still looked like Fisher Bridge was going to overhaul the Adrian Maguire-trained horse on the run-in, but the line just came on time for the winner.

Even in defeat, this was a hugely encouraging run by Fisher Bridge. It was his first attempt at three miles, so it was understandable that Condon wanted to delay his challenge as long as possible, but it is a short easy run-in at Limerick, and he just didn’t have time to claw back the momentum that he lost at the last against a willing and gallant rival.

It may seem like Fisher Bridge has been around for a while, but he is still only seven and this was just the eighth run of his life over fences. A good novice hurdler, he got off the mark at the first time of asking over fences at Kilbeggan last September and, while he hasn’t added to that victory yet over the larger obstacles, he did run well on a couple of occasions in defeat, often on ground that appeared to be too soft for him. He has been in fine form on the flat this summer, winning twice, including giving Admiral Barry 7lb and a short head beating in a good two-mile handicap at The Curragh on the Saturday of Irish Derby weekend. His handicap rating on the flat rose by 14lb since the start of the summer, and it is probable that he can replicate that level of improvement over fences. Also, the step up to three miles could bring about further improvement, he seemed to stay the trip well on Sunday.

The handicapper has raised him 5lb for Sunday’s effort, which doesn’t appear to be harsh, and he will be of interest now in another three-mile handicap chase off his new mark of 133, now that connections know that he stays and don’t have to ride him so defensively. All of his wins, on the flat, over hurdles and over fences, have been at right-handed tracks, and the balance of his form suggests that he is better on good ground than he is on really deep winter ground. As such, the United House Gold Cup at Ascot on 30th October – the three-mile handicap chase that The Last Derby won last season, a valuable prize run on a right-handed track often on goodish ground – would be an interesting target for him now if connections were inclined to travel.

10th October 2010

© The Irish Field, 16th October 2010