Horses To Follow » Sword Of Honour

Sword Of Honour

Sword Of Honour was a seriously impressive winner of a bumper at Killarney last week on his racecourse debut and looks like a name to remember. He was not even favourite, he was weak in the market, but he won with a tremendous amount in hand. Settled towards the rear in the early stages by Derek O’Connor, he settled well off what was a sedate enough pace, which was encouraging for this flat-bred horse. It would have been no surprise to see him taking quite a keen hold on his racecourse debut. He did soon move up into fifth place, and he slowly moved closer down the back straight, clearly still travelling well, and O’Connor only had to shake the reins for just two strides for Sword Of Honour to come and join the leading three early in the home straight, with those three rivals hard ridden. He cruised into the lead two furlongs out before moving over to the rail to come steadily clear, just lightly punched out to go on and record a nine-length win, with further gaps back to the third and fourth.

It is simply impossible to gauge how much Sword Of Honour had in hand here as he barely came off the bridle, and the form looks more than fair. The runner-up, Stormy Oscar, had finished second in a similar event in early June; the third horse, Fantastic Bob, had finished a close second in a maiden hurdle at Limerick in July. Also, both the eighth and ninth home had previously reached the frame in bumpers this summer.

Sword Of Honour is by Montjeu out of the Group 1 winner My Emma who won the Prix Vermeille and Yorkshire Oaks for Rae Guest, and My Emma is a half-sister to Classic Cliché, who won the 1995 St Leger and the Ascot Gold Cup a year later. My Emma has already produced the Listed winner Moments Of Joy, also trained by Guest, and Sword Of Honour had been trained at Ballydoyle but didn’t make the track as a flat horse. He looks a really pacey sort, seeming well at home on the good ground. Owned by Sue Magnier, he is now trained by Pat Flynn, who also trained French Ballerina to win the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle glory for the owner. Sword Of Honour will do well to be as good as French Ballerina, but at this stage there is no telling how good he could be. It would be no surprise if they were to put him away now and bring him back for some of the big bumpers later in the season. Alternatively they may want to get some more experience into him while the ground is still good. Wherever he goes next, he is a most exciting prospect.

25th August 2011