Horses To Follow » Norah Starr

Norah Starr

Norah Starr put up a good performance to finish second in the two-and-a-quarter-mile mares’ handicap hurdle at Leopardstown on Saturday on her first run over hurdles for a year, and she looks capable of progressing from this now.

Denis Hogan’s mare travelled strongly right towards the rear in the early stages, she was actually disputing last place passing the winning post on the first circuit, and she remained there as they headed off down the far side. But she jumped up really well at each of the flights down the back straight, and that carried her from midfield right up to the head of the field as they left the back straight. She travelled well in a narrow lead over the second last and showed an impressive turn of foot to go clear early in the home straight, looking all set to win on the run to the final flight. She began to falter on the run-in, however, possibly due to a loss of concentration, and she was overhauled in the dying strides by Summer Star.

The winner is an interesting mare herself, a five-year-old handicap hurdle debutante who obviously had a little bit in hand of her opening handicap mark. That said, Norah Starr may be the more under-rated mare of the pair now. She moved through the race like a horse who was better than this grade, and she could be even better back at a bare two miles in a more strongly-run race and if held up for a little longer. The handicapper has raised her 4lb to a mark of 97, and that may be lenient, especially when you consider that the winner was raised 9lb. She is only six, this was just her ninth hurdle race, her first for a year (and her first under any code since August) and she jumps hurdles well. Fourth to Steps To Freedom in a two-mile handicap on the all-weather at Dundalk last July off a mark of 76, there could be a decent handicap in her now off her hurdles mark of 97.

9th February 2013