Horses To Follow » Alive Alive Oh

Alive Alive Oh

Alive Alive Oh put up a nice performance to finish third behind old rival Carla Bianca in the Group 3 Dance Design Stakes over nine furlongs at The Curragh on Sunday. Settled just behind leaders Shanooan and Palace through the early stages of the race, up on the outside of Mizzava, Tommy Stack’s filly travelled really well for Fran Berry into the home straight. The only filly still on the bridle as they flashed past the two-furlong pole, she picked up nicely when her rider asked her to, moved one-length clear of Carla Bianca and moved to her right towards the inside rail. She led until inside the furlong marker, but she gave best to the winner about 150 yards out, and surrendered second place to Pearl Of Africa just before the winning line.

This was still a big run in the circumstances. The ground was probably faster than ideal for her, and she was ridden close to the pace in a race that was run to suit the hold-up horses. The three horses who occupied the first three places from early, Shanooan, Palace and Mizzava, finished last, second last and third last, while the winner raced in mid-division and the runner-up was second last of the nine runners until they passed the three-furlong pole. The early pace was strong and unrelenting, with every horse except Alive Alive Oh under pressure before the two-furlong marker.

Even allowing for the way the race unfolded, this run suggested that nine furlongs at The Curragh may just stretch the Duke Of Marmalade filly’s stamina to its limit. She did win over nine and 10 furlongs on easy ground last year as a three-year-old, but, on this evidence, a drop back down to a fast-run mile might see her improve. She was a high-class three-year-old last season, she won her first two races, a listed race and a Group 3, and she was sent off the 7/4 second favourite when she disappointed in the Group 2 Blandford Stakes on her final run last term.

Tommy and Fozzy Stack avoided fast ground with her last term so, while she handled the good ground on Sunday well, she will be even more interesting on easier ground, which she should get now as we move into the autumn. She had run well to finish second behind Carla Bianca in a listed race at Gowran Park on her previous run, but Sunday’s run was probably another step forward on that. It has taken her a little while to get going this season, but she is in fine form now on Sunday’s evidence. She is entered in the Group 2 Clipper Logistics Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend, and she could be an interesting outsider if she took her chance in that, dropped back down to a mile.

31st August 2014