Horses To Follow » Major Malarkey

Major Malarkey

Major Malarkey travelled well through the Grade 3 Classic Chase at Warwick on Saturday, he just got caught on the inside and among horses going down the far side of the track, with the result that he got further back than ideal for a stayer, and that is certainly not ideal at Warwick where an ability to travel well and hold a prominent position can be a big advantage. Once Paddy Brennan got him rolling, though, he stayed on really well, switched to the outside up the home straight, to finish fourth.

The front three, Hey Big Spender, Fredo and Strongbows Legend, all moved well through the race and had trouble-free passages, whereas Major Malarkey was just held in a pocket at a couple of crucial stages of the race, and had to challenge from much further back than Brennan would most likely have wanted around the home turn.

This was another encouraging run from Major Malarkey in a good staying handicap chase, he was fifth in the Bet365 Gold Cup as a novice at the end of last season, having taken up the running going strongly at the end of the back straight before not quite seeing it out in what was a really strongly-run race, and he ran another creditable race back at Sandown in the London National on his seasonal debut in December, his run before Saturday, where he looked in with a big shout at the second last before fading a little close home. He was entitled to come on for that reappearance, and he proved here that he does stay three miles and five furlongs strongly. He was 3lb out of the handicap here too which wouldn’t have helped him, although the second and third home were both out of the handicap as well.

Major Malarkey is still unexposed over staying trips, especially now that he has proved he does stay this trip well. He goes on good ground but he goes on soft ground too – he has won on soft ground at Chepstow – and although he had to be pulled up in the Grand National Trial at Haydock last year on heavy ground, he was short on experience for a race of that ilk last year and the ground was really terrible. That contest could well be on his agenda again this season, which would be interesting and, even if he doesn’t go back to Haydock, he will be of interest in any long-distance handicap chase that he contests for the rest of the season.

14th January 2012