Horses To Follow » Ursa Major

Ursa Major

It was easy to be impressed with the manner in which Ursa Major won the Group 3 Irish St Leger Trial at The Curragh on Saturday, beating the really likeable John Oxx colt Hartani.

Dropped in last of the five runners, Tommy Carmody’s horse settled well for Fergal Lynch, tracking Hartani, the slight odds-on favourite, the whole way. He just had to be urged along for a few strides as they climbed towards the five-furlong marker, but he quickly came back on the bridle and he travelled strongly around the home turn. Pat Smullen switched Hartani off the inside, but Lynch stuck to the inside rail and got a lovely split through. Pulled around the two John Oxx runners at the top of the home straight, he quickly ranged up alongside Hartani and it was evident he was going much the better when they passed the two-furlong pole.

Given how well Hartani had stayed on to win the Curragh Cup on his previous run, it was just a question of whether Ursa Major had enough in reserve to hold off the battling grey. Lynch was able to get him to the front without having to really ask him for too much, and it was only inside the final 100 yards, once his mount had already started to forge on, that he resorted to his whip.

This was Ursa Major’s first run for two months and his trainer had warned beforehand that the horse would probably benefit from the run, so it is feasible that there is even more to come from him now, although it is worth bearing in mind that Hartani had been off for a similar time himself. This run proved he stayed a mile and three quarters well, he is really progressive and probably still under-rated on the back of this. He will be a player in whichever St Leger he contests, and 25/1 about him for the Doncaster version would look very big if that race were to emerge as his target.

25th August 2012