Horses To Follow » Royal Visit

Royal Visit

Unusually, the far side seemed to be favoured on the straight track at The Curragh on Sunday. Perhaps they have down something to the track during the off-season to try to offset the stands-side bias. We need more evidence, but they may have overdone it now. In any case, Royal Visit did well to finish third from what appeared to be a disadvantageous near-side draw in this six-furlong maiden on her racecourse debut.

The King’s Best filly broke nicely and travelled well in behind horses on the near side, very close to the near rail. She was caught in traffic when Johnny Murtagh wanted to go forward, Murtagh had to wait for Charles O’Brien’s Possible to take the gap he wanted first, and then he had to pull around the weakening Ahimsa right against the rail and follow Possible through. No better than ninth or 10th passing the furlong marker, John Oxx’s filly ran on strongly when in the clear to snatch third place. She was level with the second placed horse Rigoletta a few strides past the line, and she was actually alongside the four-and-three-quarter-length winner Redoutable as they pulled up.

This was a really encouraging debut from Royal Visit, especially as her chance may have been severely compromised by her near-side draw. She was drawn in stall 29 of 30, and the other three horses who filled the first four places with her were drawn two, four and six, and all raced in the far side group. On top of that, the first two home both had plenty of experience as two-year-olds, Redoutable had run seven times and Rigoletta had run six times, and this was Royal Visit’s first time to race in public. With official ratings of 84 and 81, the front two set a decent standard, especially as both had been rated higher originally at two (Redoutable had been given an opening mark of 99 last August), and Royal Visit should improve for this experience. On limited evidence, it appears that John Oxx has his horses in unusually good form this early in the season, and Royal Visit should win her maiden soon before going onto better things.

25th March 2012