Horses To Follow » Seefood


Seefood did well to finish second in the Pertemps Qualifier at Leopardstown on Saturday, given that he raced up with the pace in a race in which it was almost certainly ultimately an advantage to have been held up.

Settled in third place of the 21 runners and towards the outside in the early stages of the race, he improved to lead the field up past the stands for the first time. Jumping accurately and efficiently and maintaining a wide path, he led or disputed the lead down the back straight, and he kicked about five lengths clear on the run to the second last flight. He still had a length in hand over the winner Courage – who had been held up – when he rose to the final flight, but he just could not withstand Charlie Swan’s horse’s finishing surge. Even so, in finishing five lengths clear of the third horse Supreme Carolina, who had also been held up, he put up a big performance, probably the best of his career to date.

Indeed, Seefood was the only horse who raced up with the pace to finish in the first seven. The other six were all held up out the back in the early stages of the race. The next best-placed prominent racer was Vics Canvas, who finished eighth, 24 lengths behind the winner. Interestingly, Vics Canvas had beaten Courage on their previous run at Naas. All the indications are that it was almost certainly a significant advantage to be ridden patiently in the race, which suggests that you can mark up Seefood’s performance by a fair way.

Winner of two novice hurdles over two and a half miles on heavy ground at the start of last season, Dessie Hughes’ horse was not disgraced behind Ubak and Morning Assembly in good novice hurdles (Grade 2 and Grade 1) at Aintree and Punchestown respectively last spring. He was disappointing on his early runs this season, but the fitting of a visor for his penultimate run at Thurles seemed to bring about improvement, and he continued that improvement here with the headgear on again.

The handicapper has raised him 5lb for this, but that is not harsh. It still leaves him on a mark of 139, just 2lb higher than the mark that he attained last season as a novice. He has good form on soft ground, but his trainer said after his Aintree run that he was at his best on good ground, and, on this evidence, he stays three miles well. He could be a horse for the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham now. It is interesting that Hughes ran Oulart in this race in 2005 before sending him to Cheltenham that March to land the Pertemps Final.

28th December 2013