Horses To Follow » Quito De La Roque

Quito De La Roque

Quito De La Roque produced a good effort to finish second behind Bostons Angel in the three-mile Grade 1 Fort Leney Novice Chase at Leopardstown on Lexus Chase Day. He settled well for Davy Russell, but he just jumped the second and third fences a bit slowly, resulting in him being a bit further back than ideal in the early stages. His jumping warmed up from here though, and he travelled well in fifth position of the nine-runner field. He was still travelling well down the back and Davy Russell was just getting him into contention when he made a mistake at the fourth last, just dipping on landing, which just caused his momentum to stall. Thegreatjohnbrowne who had set the pace throughout just quickened it up after the next and Colm Murphy’s horse just got caught a bit for pace before the straight.

He looked to be treading water on the turn in, he must have been about five or six lengths off the leaders and he didn’t look to be making any progress, but he is all about stamina, and he began to respond to Russell’s urgings just before the last. For a few strides it looked like he might even get up and win, but the post just came in time for Bostons Angel.

Quito De La Roque was mentioned here last April when he took a competitive handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse in what was a dour staying performance on testing ground. It was a similar type of scenario to the one that developed here, he looked beaten when coming off the bridle on the turn for home before his stamina kicked in. The ground can’t be soft enough for him, as said Davy Russell after that run, and he had that in his favour here, but a few novicey jumps at crucial times in the race probably just cost him. That’s excusable given that this was only his second start over fences.

The form of this race as a Grade 1 looks questionable with the first five all finishing close up, but Quito De La Roque looks the type that will always be a force when he gets his conditions. He is a half-brother to Kazal, another dour stayer but, unlike him, he looks more of a chaser than a hurdler at this stage. He won a Milltown point-to-point before he reached the track, and he has looked good on his two starts over fences this season. He’s only seven, he has had just seven runs under rules in his life, and he will be a force against anything on soft ground over long distances in his division. There is a three-mile Grade 2 chase at Naas next Saturday, and he should have a big chance in that. In the long term, he could be a Grand National horse.

28th December 2010