Horses To Follow » Steps To Freedom

Steps To Freedom

Steps To Freedom had been impressive in winning his maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse, and he built on that, showing a good attitude, by winning a two-mile Grade 3 hurdle at Punchestown last Thursday.

Held up last of the five runners by Robbie Power, he got in a little too close to a couple of the early flights, but he was generally quick, especially down the back straight. He lost his hind legs at the second last flight, which could have been costly, but that was the only real scare, he had travelled really well up to then, and he was straight back on an even keel, still going strongly as they rounded the home turn. Sailor’s Warn travelled quite strongly on the run to the last, but Steps To Freedom emerged going just as well outside him having quickly made up ground, picking up impressively off a slow enough early pace. The pair of them came clear, with Steps To Freedom picking up the better, clearing the last well, just nodding slightly on landing, before showing a nice turn of foot and proving that he could handle this easy ground as well as good ground. He had a comfortable length and a quarter in hand at the line, with a break of over seven lengths back to Jack Cool in third.

Jack Cool set a good standard, he was rated 145 coming into this, and Steps To Freedom and Sailor’s Warn readily brushed him aside. Sailor’s Warn was on a mark of 139 before this run, and, having had a pipe-opener on the flat, had won a four-year-old hurdle at Limerick just four days before this. He could well have improved for his summer break.

The fact that Steps To Freedom was not only able to win this race, but to win it with some authority off a steady pace having recovered from a potentially serious mishap at the second last, marks him down as a seriously exciting prospect, and suggests there could be a lot more to come from him. Jessica Harrington’s gelding was a classy bumper performer, he won the Grade 2 Aintree Bumper before going on to make his mark on the flat this summer. He is rated 104 on the level, and was unlucky in the listed Oyster Stakes at Galway in September having missed the break and found himself some way behind down the back straight. He could very well be a Supreme Novices’ Hurdle horse. He could be that good.

13th October 2011