Horses To Follow » Mannheim


The two-year-old Mannheim shaped with considerable promise on his debut three weeks ago in a mile maiden at Gowran Park, when he was Aidan O’Brien’s third choice in the race according to the betting, although he was well backed, 7/1 into 9/2 on course, before finishing third, two lengths behind his two stable companions who fought out the finish. Those two had both run before and Mannheim ran on quite nicely from the back under just a hands and heels ride.

He was expected to go two better on his second start when he started at 8/15 for another maiden over the mile and half a furlong of Galway on Saturday. However, drawn seven of eight, he had to endure a wide and slightly rough passage all the way around as Tohugo was taking a fierce hold inside him, reefing left and right and constantly knocking into him. It is difficult to make ground around the outside at Galway, a continually turning track, and Colm O’Donoghue realised he was slightly further back than he would have liked three furlongs out and so gave Mannheim a squeeze. However, by the time he had got past Tohugo and moved into third place, Pat Smullen had kicked off the front on the well-drawn Hit The Jackpot who had led all the way and had bagged the inside rail from early. Mannheim was caught a little flat-footed and had to go three wide around the home turn to get round Criostal who had tracked Hit The Jackpot throughout, and he stayed on well up the hill to close the gap on the winner all the way to the line, but Hit The Jackpot, another representative of Dermot Weld’s, who obviously had his team primed for Galway this year like never before, was not for catching. Mannheim was beaten a length and a half but was upsides the winner soon after the line.

Dermot Weld completely tore up the record books at Galway with an unprecedented 17 winners, smashing his own previous record of 11 set last year, and such is the way he treats this festival, he may well have had Hit The Jackpot in mind for this race for some time, stepping up in trip and fitting blinkers for the first time. This was a step up from Mannheim on his debut run, he pulled a nice way clear of the third horse having not had the run of the race at all, and he can improve again from this. The fact that he didn’t appear to be fazed by Tohugo’s antics was likeable, and he should be even sharper next time. It is hard to say at this stage how good he could be in time. He is by Galileo out of a half-sister to Moonstone, winner of an Irish Oaks, and to L’Ancresse, second in an Irish Oaks, so there is plenty of stamina in his pedigree. Indeed it looks like Mannheim is in need of a good test at a mile already. Mannheim could be a Royal Lodge horse, or he could be one for the Criterium International or the Criterium de Saint Cloud at the end of the season. Both races are usually run on easy ground at Saint-Cloud, over a mile and 10 furlongs respectively, and both present a thorough test of stamina for a juvenile. Significantly, O’Brien has won three of the last five renewals of the former with Mount Nelson, Jan Vermeer and Roderic O’Connor, and four of the last 10 renewals of the latter, including two of the last three with Fame And Glory and Recital. Looking further ahead, Mannheim could make up into a really smart middle-distance colt next season. Remember that this year’s Epsom Derby runner-up and Irish Derby winner Treasure Beach won a nursery at the 2010 Galway Festival.

30th July 2011