Horses To Follow » Ballygarvey


Ballygarvey ran a big race to finish fourth behind Anay Turge in a good two-mile handicap chase at Cheltenham on Friday on ground that should have been faster than ideal for him. Always prominent, as is his wont, he travelled as well as anything else in the race on the inside on the run to the home turn, looking a real threat. He just couldn’t match the pace of Anay Turge and Sew On Target from the second last fence, but he kept on well up the hill to finish fourth, almost wresting third spot from Eastlake in the run to the line.

This was a good race. The winner Anay Turge came into this race in top form and was well-backed, runner-up Sew On Target had finished third behind Paddy Power Gold Cup winner Johns Spirit in a good handicap chase at Cheltenham’s October meeting and was competing off the same mark, while third-placed Eastlake won three of his last five races last season, and had won at Aintree on his debut this term. Also, the race was run in a good time, the fastest comparative time on a good day’s racing and 0.14secs/furlong faster than Racing Post par.

All of Ballygarvey’s best form has been on soft or heavy ground. The ground at Cheltenham on Friday was softer than the official description of good, but it was no worse than good to soft, and that is faster than Ballygarvey’s optimum, especially over two miles. On this type of ground, he probably needs two and a half miles. He did prove on Friday, however, that he doesn’t have to lead. He more or less made all in all four of his wins under Rules, but he seemed happy enough to just sit behind the leaders in Friday’s race.

The handicapper has left him on his mark of 138 after this, which is good. He is only seven, this was just his seventh race over fences, he has the potential to progress even more, and he should be seen to even better effect on softer ground later in the winter.

15th November 2013