Horses To Follow » Hartani


Hartani put up a really likeable performance to win the Group 3 Curragh Cup on Sunday on just his fourth run ever. The Aga Khan’s colt had made all the running on both of his previous runs, but he was restrained by Johnny Murtagh here on this step up to a mile and six furlongs and on testing ground. He moved up on the outside of Macbeth turning into the home straight with Murtagh yet to really ask him to pick up, but Midnight Soprano looked a big danger two furlongs out as she tracked him through. Hartani stayed on really well though to out-muscle Midnight Soprano, who had beaten Saddler’s Rock and Unaccompanied in the Saval Beg Stakes on her most recent run, and who was probably competing in her optimum conditions.

Conditions were probably optimum for Hartani as well, he had stayed on well to make all over an extended mile and a half on his previous two runs, both at Tipperary, but he seemed to enjoy being held up just behind the leaders here and being delivered to challenge. The step up in trip suited him well – he was emphatically on top at the line, getting stronger the further he went – as did the soft ground.

This was a big performance from the John Oxx-trained colt, he only made his debut in late April but has quickly progressed into a high class stayer. It is hard for three-year-olds in the Irish St Leger – no three-year-old has won the race since Vinnie Roe in 2001, and he was so good that he won three more of them – but if it happened to come up soft, he would be a huge player in that race. In fact even on good ground he would be interesting, such is the rate at which he is improving. If conditions were to come up testing at Doncaster in mid-September, then connections could be tempted to have a crack at Camelot in the English St Leger as they know their horse stays really well and he shaped here as if there was much more to come from him. Wherever he goes from here he should continue to progress. He could make up into a Cup horse next year.

1st July 2012