Horses To Follow » Novarov


A winner on the flat over 12 and 13 furlongs in his native Germany, Novarov has been really progressive over hurdles this season for John O’Shea. Having got handicapped over hurdles by running over two miles, he has been really progressive at longer trips. He was quite well beaten in his first two handicap hurdles, but he had won two of his previous four starts, and he had finished second in the other two, prior to running in the Irish Field Handicap Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday, when he ran another good race to be second to the highly rated Dedigout.

Having had a midfield position, he got pretty badly outpaced when they quickened leaving the back straight. He dropped back to no better than 15th or 16th over the third last flight, but he kept finding, having been switched to the outside, and he stayed on really well to take second place.

His two wins over hurdles have been over two miles and seven furlongs at Navan and three miles at Cork, and he relished every yard of the two and three quarter miles here. He should be even better with a more stern test of stamina, they didn’t go as hard as they might have been expected to go early on in this race, and stepping back up to three miles or on a stiffer track or on easier ground can see Novarov get back to winning ways. He has gone up 26lb in the handicap already since his first win over hurdles – and will probably go up a few more lbs for this run – but he is obviously in good heart, and he may still be a little way ahead of the handicapper. He was second to Up For The Match at Gowran Park on his penultimate run, the pair of them well clear, and that horse has gone on to win well off a 16lb higher mark on his only subsequent start to date. Also, the winner of this race, Dedigout, has always been highly regarded – he has gone off favourite for each of his four runs over hurdles now, including the Grade 2 Slaney Novice Hurdle on his previous run.

Time may reveal that Novarov was very unlucky to come up against Dedigout off a handicap mark of 132 here, and we have probably not seen the best of John O’Shea’s gelding just yet.

9th April 2012