Horses To Follow » Ballabrook


Ballabrook travelled well in rear but found things happening too fast for him out in front in a Class 3 0-120 three-mile-one-furlong handicap chase at Catterick last Tuesday. Having been held up on the inner, he had to avoid the stricken Baltic Pathfinder when that one came down at the sixth, which he did nimbly but meant he was shuffled back to the rear of the field. Indeed he was last turning into the straight for the first time and remained there until he started to make some progress down the back straight. His progress was hampered by a couple of untidy jumps, and when the leaders really put some pace into the race around the tight turns coming out of the back straight, Ballabrook found himself many lengths behind. He stayed on really strongly though over the last few furlongs to take third, and was rapidly closing on the second at the line, albeit some way behind the comfortable winner Star Beat.

While the tight track and good ground would not have been in his favour – although his only two wins have come on tight tracks (here and at Ludlow) – it now seems that Ballabrook would be suited by a step up to extreme distances. He made up so much ground here from turning out of the back straight to the line that you have to think he would be favoured by going even further. His dam, unraced herself, is a half-sister to a winner over an extended three miles and is from the family of Royal Emperor who was a high-class stayer over hurdles and fences.

Donald McCain’s gelding’s chase rating of 104 is still 3lb below his hurdles rating. He came good in December of last year and it would be no surprise to see him get his head in front again soon, especially granted a more severe test of stamina.

14th December 2010