Horses To Follow » Beautiful Sound

Beautiful Sound

Beautiful Sound put up a really nice performance to win a three-mile-one-furlong handicap chase at Fairyhouse on Sunday. Always travelling well just behind the leaders, the Gigginstown House horse improved nicely down the side of the track and jumped his way to the front over the third last. Still on the bridle levelling up for home, he looked set to win easily, but he didn’t go on like it looked like he would between the last two fences when Davy Russell asked him. He wandered a little on the approach to the final fence, and for a few strides on the run-in it looked like Not Before Eight might catch him. However, it is significant that Beautiful Sound picked up again when the other horse got close, he was actually going away again at the line. As well as that, he was pricking his ears on the run to the last and all the way up the run-in, so it is safe to assume that he was idling as opposed to tiring, and that he probably won with a fair bit more in hand than the winning margin of a length and a half. He was obviously seeking company from the time that he took it up, he had been in front for a while, he had been travelling so well that it made sense for Davy Russell to allow him stride on, and there is little doubt that he will do even better if held in behind horses for longer next time.

Beautiful Sound is nine years old now, but he has only raced five times and he still has huge scope for progression. After winning his point-to-point at The Pigeons in March 2007, the son of Presenting looked destined for bigger things when he beat Agus A Vic – winner of three of his next four hunters chases, including the Champion Hunters Chase at Punchestown the following season – in the Coopers Marquees Hunters Chase at Fairyhouse the following month when trained by Ted Walsh. Leg problems kept him off the track for three and a half years after that, but his owner’s patience was rewarded when he made his debut for his current trainer Gordon Elliott at Punchestown last November, staying on well to win a two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase off a mark of 107. He did disappoint a little on his next run, in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival. Available at 14/1 on the morning of the race, when he was down as a reserve, he did get into the race and was promptly backed in to 5/1 favourite. Perhaps that race came up too quickly for him, just six weeks after his first run in three and a half years, perhaps it was all a bit much for him, a competitive 28-runner handicap. In his defence, he did move into a threatening position at the end of the back straight, but he faded from there and finished ninth, 14 lengths behind the winner Majestic Concorde. It is easy to forgive him that run, however, especially with Sunday’s run now under his girth.

The handicapper raised him 7lb for Sunday’s performance, which leaves him on a mark of 123, and that is more than fair. He is a big strong galloping typical staying chaser who handles soft ground well, but he is by Presenting, and the ground was good when he beat Agus A Vic at Fairyhouse, so he should be effective on better ground. There is a chance that we have got nowhere near the limit of his ability, and he could be in line for one of the big staying handicap chases before the end of the season. He could make up into an Irish National horses. The fact that he is now two for two at Fairyhouse is a significant asset in that regard.

16th January 2011

© The Irish Field, 22nd January 2011