Horses To Follow » Mutual Regard

Mutual Regard

Mutual Regard put up a really nice performance to win the two-mile handicap at The Curragh on Irish Derby day on his first run for Johnny Murtagh.

Ballyadam Brook set off into a clear lead, with Moon Dice, who raced in second place early on, in turn clear of the rest of the field. The field began to concertina about five furlongs out, and the early leader quickly fell back through the field from that point. However, Moon Dice lasted a little longer, and it looked as though he was going to impede Mutual Regard as he struggled to engineer a path for himself outside Paul Flynn’s horse as he weakened on rounding the home turn. However, as Moon Dice weakened, he drifted off the rail, and Mutual Regard was able to move past easily on the inside under Ross Coakley. From a position from which it looked like he was going to struggle to find racing room, suddenly he was in front and travelling easily.

It was not a given that it was going to be easy from there, because Mutual Regard had been quite far forward in the main group, he had raced in fifth position overall through the early stages of the race and the others had made ground to join him. However, when his rider asked him to pick up at the furlong pole, the son of Hernando produced a fine response, going on from Edge Of Sanity and Rawnaq to win nicely by two lengths and a length and a quarter, the front three nicely clear of the rest of the field.

This is solid form. Favourite Nateeja may have under-performed, but the runner-up is a progressive handicapper, a winner over a mile and a half on soft ground, for all that two miles may have stretched his stamina, while the third horse is a solid performer on the flat and a 140-rated hurdler. The front three were clear and the time was good, comfortably the fastest of the three races run on the round course on the day, one of which was the Irish Derby.

Mutual Regard won five times on the bounce for Mark Prescott in 2012 on the all-weather, rising from a mark of 60 to a mark of 83. He only won once in seven attempts last season, but he finished second four times, third once and fourth the other time, and he ran some fine races in defeat, including when he finished second in a good two-mile handicap at Goodwood in September, finishing in front of several talented rivals including Arch Villain, Waterclock, Broxbourne, Mawaqeet and Ray Ward.

The handicapper has raised him 11lb for this win, which is harsh enough on the face of it, but he still has the scope to progress again now for his new trainer. Johnny Murtagh spoke of the Ebor as a possible target now, which is interesting. Murtagh knows what is required to win an Ebor, having gone close with Royal Diamond in 2012. Mutual Regard goes well on fast ground, and he will be of interest if he takes his chance in the Ebor, or wherever he goes next.

28th June 2014