Horses To Follow » Allure Of Illusion

Allure Of Illusion

Allure Of Illusion was eye-catching in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, and he was eye-catching again in the Grade 2 two-mile novices’ hurdle at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday.

He was held up right out the back in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last month, he jumped the first two hurdles quite big on what was just his third run over hurdles, and that left him second last, not an ideal position in a Cheltenham Festival contest. He was still going well and was starting to move closer when he got the third last flight a bit wrong, landing awkwardly, he had to be driven along on landing, but he picked up between horses and came back on the bridle coming to the second last hurdle. He made good ground at the bottom of the hill and around the home turn, but having got himself just about into contention, he couldn’t quicken up the hill with the front five, and in the end he just managed to hold off Galileo’s Choice for sixth. They didn’t go a mad pace up front so he was probably disadvantaged in having to come from so far back.

Having dead-heated over two and a half miles prior to Cheltenham, Willie Mullins’s horse looked at Cheltenham as though he would be suited to stepping back up in trip. He was kept at two miles for the Grade 2 Rathbarry and Glenview Studs Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse, and he was weak in the market beforehand. Interestingly, he was rejected by Ruby Walsh in favour of Midnight Game, who himself had been rejected by Davy Russell in favour of Il Fenomeno, so he was well down the pecking order. It was a similar story to the Cheltenham race, he made a mistake at the first flight down the back straight, and he jumped slowly at the fourth last, he was quite far back, he had to do a lot of running into a quickening pace and wide as AP McCoy went for home on Alderwood. He got there over the last flight, however, and looked like he might go on and win before Alderwood found plenty to repel him.

This was just Allure Of Illusion’s fourth ever run over hurdles, he was beaten by the County Hurdle winner, a horse who hadn’t received due credit for winning that big handicap at Cheltenham, who is still firmly on the upgrade and who was given a fine ride out in front here in a race in which there was no obvious pace. Allure Of Illusion was comfortably better than the rest, and on another day, perhaps if the race had been run a little differently, he could have seriously threatened the winner.

The son of Captain Rio will be of interest if he runs at Punchestown now, and the chances are that he will run. He should be better over two and a half miles. He is exciting, he has run just four times over hurdles, he is a half-brother to Blackstairmountain, and he is surely a chaser in the making. He could well make up into an Arkle or Jewson Chase contender next season.

9th April 2012