Horses To Follow » Call Me Bubbles

Call Me Bubbles

Call Me Bubbles put up a big performance to finish third in the Tara Handicap Hurdle at Navan on Sunday.

Settled nicely by Ruby Walsh towards the rear of a field that got well stretched out quite quickly, he seemed to get a little outpaced as they quickened at the end of the back straight, with the result that he was no better than third last of the 15 remaining runners by the time they rose to the first flight in the straight, the third last. A fairly significant error there, just as they quickened from the front, was untimely, and left him with fully five or six lengths to make up on the leader Jennies Jewel from the second last flight. The task proved beyond Call Me Bubbles, but he closed all the way from the second last flight to finish third, just over a length behind Jennies Jewel.

This was a fine performance from the Willie Mullins-trained gelding in a race in which it probably ultimately proved to be an advantage to be ridden handily. He and Stuart Crawford’s mare Aibrean – who ran on well to finish sixth and who could also be worth following now – were the only two horses to finish in the first seven having been held up early. Also, Call Me Bubbles might well have won had he not made that momentum-checking mistake at the third last.

It could be worth stepping him up in trip now from this intermediate distance of two and a half miles. He was a dual winner over a mile and a half on soft ground on the flat as a three-year-old, and he finished third in the Irish Cesarewitch over two miles at The Curragh in October. Also, he won a handicap hurdle at the Galway Festival in August over two miles and six furlongs, the longest trip over which he has ever raced. He stayed on well that day, up Galway’s final stiff incline, leaving the impression that three miles should be well within his range.

The handicapper has raised him 4lb for Sunday’s run, but that still leaves him on a mark of just 147, and that is a mark off which he should be able to win a decent handicap, as long as the emphasis is on stamina. He is only four rising five, this was just his seventh race over hurdles, and he still has plenty of scope for progression. He will still be of interest when he races next over two and a half miles, as long as the ground is soft and/or the pace looks like it is going to be strong, but he will be of even greater interest whenever he is stepped up to three miles, nothwithstanding the fact that five-year-olds can struggle over hurdles when they step up to marathon trips.

15th December 2014