Horses To Follow » Rich Coast

Rich Coast

Rich Coast put up a nice performance to win the Grade 3 Dolores Purcell Memorial Novices’ Hurdle at Tipperary on Sunday, and he could now begin to translate his good form on the flat to hurdles.

Settled just behind the two leaders by Paul Carberry through the early stages of the race, the Noel Meade-trained gelding travelled and jumped well to the home straight. Moved towards the outside as they straightened up for home, he joined the leader Macnicholson at the second last flight, went about a length clear by the time he reached the final flight, popped over that obstacle and cleared away to win by four lengths, with the favourite Macnicholson finishing two and a half lengths ahead of the third horse Storm Away. It was a nice performance.

It has taken him a few runs, but Philip Reynolds’ horse appears to be getting his act together now over hurdles. Well beaten on his first two runs over hurdles last December, when he raced keenly without a hood, he shaped a little better on his return in June at Roscommon with a hood re-fitted. It wasn’t certain that a hood was going to have any effect, as on the only occasion on which he wore it on the flat, he finished last of 14 runners in the Ulster Derby, but he did settle a little better than he had been, and he kept on well over the final two flights to finish third behind Ballychorus. He improved from that to win his maiden hurdle at Tipperary in July, and he stepped forward again on that to finish third behind Sheild in a decent novices’ hurdle at the Galway Festival.

Sunday’s run was his first run since Galway, and he was better again. He settled well just behind the pace, he jumped the Easyfix hurdles well, and he stayed on powerfully all the way to the line.

A son of King’s Best, he was a high-class horse on the flat. Winner of a good handicap at Listowel and a listed race at Cork – both races run over an extended mile on soft ground – on his last two runs on the flat for Johnny Murtagh in the autumn of 2013, he has lots of scope as a hurdler even off his new mark of 138, 15lb higher than his mark before Sunday. He could be better than a handicapper though, and it was interesting that Meade mentioned the Grade 1 Royal Bond Hurdle as a possible target. That is how highly his trainer regards him. He has won on heavy ground on the flat, so there is every chance that he will handle soft ground over hurdles during the winter as well as on Sunday’s good ground, and, after just six races over hurdles now, he still has plenty of scope for progression.

5th October 2014