Horses To Follow » Moran Gra

Moran Gra

Moran Gra ran a cracker in the Listed Hambleton Handicap over a mile at York last Thursday.

He raced wide around the home turn from his wide draw in stall 15, but he travelled into the race strongly and he looked a possible winner when he loomed up to challenge Prince Of Johanne two and a half furlongs out (he traded at 4 in-running from an SP of 16/1). He may have just got into the teeth of the battle a little early, however, and he just couldn’t quite go on inside the final furlong. Also, although Two For Two and Prince Of Johanne were even closer to the far rail than he was late on, he did edge across to his left when he came to lay down his challenge, and the far rail probably wasn’t really the place to be, the strong finishers in the race all came down the middle of the track, as they tended to do all week.

Two For Two is still a well-handicapped horse after this run, and Prince Of Johanne is well treated again now too, back down to his Royal Hunt Cup winning mark, and both of those two can be marked up for their runs here too given where they raced in the home straight, but both of them were race-fit here whereas Moran Gra was making his seasonal debut.

It is significant that he had previously shown no form at all when fresh. Prior to this run, his record when returning from a break of 100 days or more read 0000. While it is reasonable to expect that Joanna Morgan would have had him more forward than usual first time out, given that she was sending him across to York, he could still improve plenty for this run. Also, they had a deluge for about 30 minutes before this race, which had to have had an effect on the ground, and that wouldn’t have been in his favour either.

Moran Gra had run a big race in the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket on his previous run at the end of last season, when he was in front of the group that raced down the middle of the track a full three furlongs out and was hampered when the winner Bronze Angel came across him, but still ran on well to be seventh. He had been dropped 3lb for that run, and there could be a big handicap in him off his current mark of 97. He is in a handicap at The Curragh on Saturday, and he will be of interest if he takes up that engagement, especially if the ground comes up fast. Looking further ahead, he could be a Royal Hunt Cup horse.

16th May 2013