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Questions Answered

Questions Answered put up another nice performance to finish second to By The Hour in the two-mile-three-furlong handicap chase at Leopardstown on Sunday. Always travelling well just behind the leaders, the son of Old Vic improved nicely on the outside towards the end of the back straight and just about took it up from Deal Done on landing over the second last, travelling well. He quickly came under pressure as they rounded the home turn, however, as the mare By The Hour joined the pair of them around the outside. From there the three of them had a right old tussle, there wasn’t more than a half a length between them as they jumped the last, but it was the mare who proved the stronger on the run-in, going on to beat Questions Answered by a length and a half, with three lengths back to Deal Done, who just held off the fast-finishing Conem for third.

Even in defeat, this was a career-best from the Eric McNamara-trained gelding. A graduate of the Costello school of point-to-pointing, he was a progressive novice hurdler last season, the winner of two handicap contests, and he has continued that progression over fences this term. It all seemed to be happening a little quickly for him in a two-and-a-half-mile beginners’ chase run on goodish ground at Punchestown at the end of October, but that was a hot beginners’ chase, with Thegreatjohnbrowne, Bostons Angel and Magnanimity among his rivals, and he did keep on well over the last two fences. He got off the mark on his subsequent run, his first run in a handicap, jumping well and again staying on well over two and a half miles to get the better of another useful sort in Carrigmartin.

Questions Answered gave the impression there that he would benefit from a step up in trip, and that impression was strengthened by last Sunday’s performance. He is still only six, he has run just five times over fences and he has huge scope for progression, especially if he is stepped up in trip. The handicapper raised him 4lb for Sunday’s run, but a mark of 127 may under-estimate his ability over a longer trip. He handles soft ground well and there could be a decent staying handicap chase in him now.

23rd January 2011

© The Irish Field, 29th January 2011