Horses To Follow » O’Faolains Boy

O’Faolains Boy

O’Faolains Boy put up a really nice performance to win the Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot on Saturday. Settled in just behind the leading pair by Barry Geraghty, he picked up nicely when Geraghty pulled him to the outside on the run to the second last, got the better of Many Clouds on the run to the last, and stayed on willingly up the run-in all the way to the line to post a good win.

There was a sense that Rebecca Curtis’ horse may have benefitted from sitting off the frenetic pace that Many Clouds and Gevrey Chambertin set, but he didn’t sit that far off it. It wasn’t as if he was put to sleep out the back and then came through to mug two spent rivals. It is true that Gevrey Chambertin did stop to nothing, you have to put a line through this run for him, but Many Clouds kept on all the way to the line, and he finished over four lengths clear of Third Intention, who also raced just behind the pace and who was in turn a distance clear of Baby Shine, who had been held up. It was a solid race run at a solid pace, and O’Faolains Boy put up a solid performance to win it.

This was just O’Faolains Boy’s third run over fences. He put up a most encouraging run on his belated chasing debut, only just giving best to the race-fit Easter Day from the final fence. He did disappoint behind Taquin Du Seuil at Haydock in January, but he scoped poorly afterwards, so you can easily forgive him that run, and the fact that Barry Geraghty looked after him and pulled him up quickly when it was obvious that he wasn’t travelling was a good thing. Also, Rebecca Curtis’ horses were not going well at the time. They are in much better form now.

The RSA Chase was mooted as the next target for O’Faolains Boy, and that makes sense. It is the logical next stepping stone, notwithstanding the fact that Reynoldstown winners do not have a good record in the RSA Chase, and he would be a player in the race. He would also be of interest in the Festival Handicap Chase (the old Ritz) given that he has been given a rating of 144, just 1lb higher than his hurdles rating. He could be a lot better than a 144-rated handicap chaser. He is only seven, he has raced just three times over fences and just eight times under Rules in his life, so he still has massive scope for progression. Also, he ran a cracker to finish fourth in the Albert Bartlett Hurdle on his only visit to Cheltenham, so we know that he handles the track and Cheltenham Festival conditions.

15th February 2014