Horses To Follow » Carlingford Lough

Carlingford Lough

Carlingford Lough was well-backed in the end for the Galway Plate, but his performance in winning the race may still be under-rated a little.

He did remarkably well to win. He was crowded at a lot of his fences, he tried to jump to his left at several of them, and he found it hard to get into a rhythm. He did jump the last two fences in the Dip well, and that was crucial, and he stayed on really well up the hill. He hadn’t looked like winning at all before the second last fence, and even after the last he still had a lot of work to do before he picked up impressively under a powerful AP McCoy drive.

He was 11lb lower for this than he is over hurdles, so he was potentially a very well handicapped horse, but he still had to go and win the race. The manner in which he kept on up the hill after having such a torrid time on the way around, was impressive, as was the winning time, the best on the day by some way, and 0.23secs/furlong faster than Racing Post par.

JP McManus’ horse can go on from this, this experience should have been good for his confidence, he has always had the potential to be a very good handicap chaser (he was sent off as favourite for the Irish National last season as a novice), and he will still be very interesting off his new mark of 147. That is a stone higher than the mark off which he raced in the Plate, but it is only 4lb higher than his hurdle mark, so he still has plenty of leeway in that.

He should get three miles, he should be better on better ground, and he could be better going back left-handed on this evidence, despite his record at Galway over hurdles and fences, which now reads 11331. He could be a horse for the Paddy Power Chase at Cheltenham in November, or for the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas. He obviously goes well on testing tracks, and Cheltenham could suit him well. He could also be a horse for next year’s Cheltenham Festival. Even if he doesn’t go to Cheltenham in November, there could be another good handicap chase in him before he steps up to graded chases, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him at least hold his own in the top chases (he is a half-brother to Thisthatandtother and Thetotherone). He is only seven and this was just his ninth chase so he has plenty of scope to continue progressing.

31st July 2013