Horses To Follow » Minella Foru

Minella Foru

Minella Foru ran a nice race to finish third behind Real Steel and Vicky De l’Oasis in the two-mile novices’ hurdle at Naas on Sunday. Settled in at the rear of the six runners in the early stages of the race by Mark Walsh, the King’s Theatre gelding’s jumping was good and he travelled easily. He was last of the six runners as they rounded the home turn, but he was only about four lengths behind the trap-to-line winner Real Steel. Held together by Walsh until after they had jumped the second last flight, he moved into fourth place on the inside rail – probably on the worst of the ground – before the last and, while Real Steel had got away from him at that point, he stayed on well up the run-in between horses to finish third, just a half a length behind runner-up Vicky De l’Oasis.

This was a fine effort by Eddie Harty’s horse. Weak in the market beforehand, this was his first run in almost three months, and it is reasonable to expect that he will come on for it. He was well beaten by The Tullow Tank in the Royal Bond Hurdle the last time we saw him, but he had looked good in both his wins over hurdles prior to that, and he won his only point-to-point, achieving a high rating. He remains an individual of some potential.

A handicap rating of 133 is fair, he has raced just four times over hurdles and he has to potential to go a fair bit higher than that rating. He is in the two Grade 1 novice hurdles at Cheltenham, but he is also in the County Hurdle, and, even though he has been given a rating of 139 in Britain, he could still be a player in the County Hurdle if he took his chance in it.

23rd February 2014