Horses To Follow » Roadtoabbeyfeale


Although it was only a 0-109 handicap hurdle that Roadtoabbeyfeale won at Limerick on Sunday, and he ultimately did so in fairly hard fought style, having had to survive a stewards’ enquiry to boot, there was a lot to like about his performance, and he could be worth following now through the winter.

John Supple’s gelding travelled strongly in rear through the first circuit, before starting to creep closer on the second circuit. He jumped these Easyfix hurdles well, particularly on the second circuit, and he got right onto the heels of the front two around the home turn. All three of them travelled strongly into the home straight, but Roadtoabbeyfeale and A Decent Excuse drew on from Ordinary Man – well handicapped on both his chase form and for his facile win three days previously – coming to the second last, with Eddie O’Connell yet to ask Roadtoabbeyfeale to pick up. He jumped the second last hurdle slightly quicker than A Decent Excuse and went into a length lead, but as soon as he did he pricked his ears and started looking around. He landed over the last in front, but he started to idle badly on the run-in, his ears going all over the place. That allowed the runner-up to get back to within a neck, and although Roadtoabbeyfeale edged into the runner-up and tightened him up against the stands rail, he looked to have plenty left in the tank and the winning margin of half a length does not reflect his superiority.

The front two drew well clear of Ordinary Man from the back of the last, and there was a big break back to the rest, so even though this was only a 0-109 handicap hurdle, the form looks strong.

Roadtoabbeyfeale has clearly revelled in the testing ground on his last two runs now, he won a maiden hurdle well at Listowel in September, and this run was a further improvement. He is a seven-year-old and he took eight attempts to win a maiden hurdle, but he seems to have clicked into gear now, and he is progressive in soft ground. He has been rewarded with an 8lb hike for this, but a mark of 117 could still under-estimate his rate of progression now, and he has plenty of scope over staying trips in this sort of ground now. He is a chaser in the making, but he could be a fair bit better than his current mark over hurdles still, and he may continue to be under-rated because he seems to only just do enough and because he is trained by a small trainer.

14th October 2012