Horses To Follow » Prince Of Pirates

Prince Of Pirates

It is difficult to say how Prince Of Pirates would have fared had the odds-on favourite Al Ferof not taken a crashing fall at the second last in what is traditionally a good two-mile-one-furlong novice hurdle which took place at Cheltenham on Friday. But there was still a lot to like about the way Nicky Henderson’s horse won. The race is usually a really good pointer, given that it has been won by General Miller, Karabak, Calgary Bay, Tidal Bay and Noland in the last five years.

Prince Of Pirates was always up there chasing the decent pace that Al Ferof set up front, and the son of Milan was the only one who could go with the favourite down the hill. The pair were still both travelling well on the way to the second last, where Al Ferof took his bad fall, leaving Prince Of Pirates in front on his own. Still on the bridle, and travelling smoothly turning into the straight, he began to look a bit green in front on his own just before the last where he was pricking his ears going to the hurdle. He then had to deal with the challenge of the staying-on Robin De Creuse, who may have benefitted from coming off a fast pace. Philip Hobbs’s horse briefly posed a threat to Prince Of Pirates, but AP McCoy never looked worried and despite the horse looking a bit novicey, he still picked well under the minimum of effort from the champ on the run-in to win by a cosy three lengths.

JP McManus’s gelding may not have beaten much here, and the race certainly lost most of its lustre when Al Ferof departed, but the style and manner in which the son of Milan went about winning was impressive and there is surely more to come from him now, as this just his third ever start. The form of his Kempton bumper win from last season is working out really well, the runner-up Bobs Worth looks a useful sort now having won twice from his two starts since, and the highly-rated Captain Chris was back in fourth. You can ignore his only other run, which was in a qualified riders’ race at The Curragh, as he ran out of racing room two furlongs out. He is a really exciting prospect and there is a chance he could be a bit underrated next time, given the fact that he didn’t look immediately impressive in beating what was ultimately a field that lacked obvious potential stars after Al Ferof departure.

10th December 2010