Horses To Follow » Quito De La Roque

Quito De La Roque

It looked like a rejuvenated Quito De La Roque who won the Matty Ryan Memorial Kinloch Brae Chase over two and a half miles at Thurles on Thursday.

Common consensus for some time now has been that Quito De La Roque is a thorough stayer, that he needs every yard of whatever distance you care to name, and that any race that he would win would be a race in which stamina would be at a premium, not a race over an intermediate distance at a sharp track. As well as that, he was apparently only the third Gigginstown House string in the Kinloch Brae, Paul Townend wore the blue cap, not even the white cap.

Perhaps stamina was at a premium at Thurles on Thursday, perhaps the testing ground meant that, even over two and a half miles, you needed to stay well. However, Murphy has always maintained that the Saint Des Saints gelding is not slow and, in his second-time cheekpieces, he seemed to fully appreciate dropping down in distance and being ridden aggressively.

Quito De La Roque hadn’t run over two and a half miles since he won his beginners’ chase at Clonmel in December 2010. However, his record over distances between two miles and four furlongs and two miles and six furlongs now reads 22111. Also, his record at right-handed tracks now reads 21111131, and the four highest RPRs of his life have been recorded at Down Royal (twice), Punchestown and Thurles, all right-handed tracks, which is significant given that he has run nine times at left-handed tracks and just eight times at right-handed tracks. He could be a horse for Fairyhouse and Punchestown this year more so than for Cheltenham and Aintree.

If he were to go to Aintree, the Grand National, not the Betfred Bowl, would surely be the race for him if connections were so inclined. The Grand National track is two and a quarter miles in circumferences so, even if he does have a preference for going right, he would not be greatly disadvantaged on such a wide galloping track. The British handicapper would surely give him a mark that would be significantly lower than the mark of 169 which he appears to have been allotted when he ran disappointingly at Aintree last month. His Irish mark of 155 would be more than workable in the Grand National, given that the last three winners of the race have been rated 153, 150 and 157 respectively.

It may also be that Quito De La Roque has been buoyed by the rich vein of form that Colm Murphy’s horses appear to be going through at present. Murphy has sent out just three runners in 2013 so far, Quito De La Roque (won at 12/1), Mister Hotelier (won at 5/1) and Dangan Daylight (second, beaten a half a length, at 20/1).

17th January 2013

© The Irish Field, 19th January 2013