Horses To Follow » Quickpick Vic

Quickpick Vic

Quickpick Vic put up a really likeable performance to land the curtain-raiser at Leopardstown on Sunday, the two-mile maiden hurdle. Sent to the front from early by Ruby Walsh, Tony Martin’s horse jumped well and travelled easily throughout. The field closed up on him a little on the run around to the second last flight but, by the time they straightened up for home, he still had a break on his rivals and he was still travelling best. His rider only had to squeeze him along on the run to the final flight, and he stayed on well up the run-in to come further clear, in the end winning, eased down, by nine and a half lengths from Stuccodor, a 102-rated horse on the flat, with another four and a half lengths back to Sir Abbot, who ran a nice race in third.

Winner of a bumper at Naas last March and considered good enough to contest the Grade 2 bumper at Aintree’s Grand National meeting, Quickpick Vic appears to have improved again this season. On his hurdling debut, he ran well to finish third behind the highly-regarded pair Double Irish and Champagne James in a good maiden hurdle at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival, and this was another step forward on that. The performance was visually impressive, the right horses chased him home, and the time was really good, the fastest comparative time of the day and 1.7secs faster than the time that Hurricane Fly clocked in winning the Irish Champion Hurdle run over the same course and distance later in the day, when he was pushed all the way to the line by Our Conor. The time from the first flight in both races was just about identical, and the early pace in the Irish Champion Hurdle was not overly strong, but it was still a massive performance on the clock from a maiden, carrying 2lb more than Hurricane Fly carried.

This race has been won in the past by Back In Front (2003) and Rite Of Passage (2010), and there is every reason to expect that Quickpick Vic can progress again for this. He would be a lively outsider for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle or the Neptune Hurdle if his trainer allowed him take his chance in either of those races. He could be that good.

26th January 2014