Horses To Follow » Dungannon


Dungannon is worth noting now as we head into the autumn after an encouraging run over five furlongs at Sandown on Saturday. Quietly nibbled at in the market through the day, he was drawn high in stall 10, which is a significant disadvantage on the straight track at Sandown. And so it proved here, with the first two home coming from stalls three and two respectively (the horse drawn in stall one a 28/1 shot).

Jimmy Fortune took a pull on Dungannon at the start, and he did get across close to the favoured far side, but he was no closer than eighth through the first half of the race and he had a wall of horses in front of him. He was predictably short of room when he tried to look for a way through, Fortune had to sit still from two furlongs out to the furlong pole, whilst at the same time trying to work his way across towards the centre of the track, by which time the first two had gone clear on the rail. Dungannon remained a little short of room through the final furlong, but he still ran on nicely to finish fourth, given just a couple of backhand flicks of the whip once his winning chance had gone. He seemed to finish with plenty of running left in him.

The Andrew Balding-trained gelding is yet to really find his form this season, but this was really encouraging in his first-time visor, especially given his relative strength in the market, and he is a fair bit better than the bare form of this. He has slipped to a very dangerous mark now of 86, 13lb below his peak and 9lb below the mark off which has last won and, although that last win was over two years ago now, he went close in some very hot handicaps last summer from a mark of 97. His four highest Racing Post Ratings have come on good or good to soft ground, so he is one in whom to be interested now for the autumn. He has only had a handful of runs this season, and it looks like he is coming to the boil now.

31st August 2013