Horses To Follow » Owega Star

Owega Star

Owega Star put up a big performance to finish second to Balbriggan in the Troytown Chase at Navan on Sunday under 11st.

Peter Fahey’s horse was actually lucky to survive at the third fence, when Thomond clipped heels and came down, bringing Rogue Angel down with him and causing Davy Russell to have to take evasive action on Owega Star. He did not lose too much ground or momentum, but it wasn’t ideal, just when he was getting into a rhythm in the early part of the race.

He travelled well after that incident, however, just behind the leaders, and he moved up nicely behind the leader Balbriggan on the run to the second last. When Balbriggan made a mistake at that fence, it looked like Davy Russell might conjure a winning run from Owega Star, but, in fairness to the winner, he picked up again and stayed on well. Owega Star himself kept on up the run-in and, while Groody Hill closed in on him for the runner-up spot late on, there is no doubt that he was the second best horse in the race at the weights on the day. He was the only one who was able to put it up to Balbriggan from early in the home straight.

The Troytown is a race in which it is historically really difficult to carry highweights. Going into Sunday’s race, 72 horses had carried 10st 10lb or more in the last 10 years, and just two had won with just 11 finishing placed. The two winners were Notre Pere, who won the Welsh National on his next run off a 14lb higher mark and was a subsequent Grade 1 winners, and Tofino Bay, who finished second in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham and in the Grade 1 three-mile novices’ chase at Punchestown later that year. In Sunday’s renewal, Owega Star was the only horse who carried 10st 4lb or more to finish in the first six, and he carried 11st, so 10lb more than 10st 4lb, and was the only horse who could challenge the really well-backed winner over the last two fences.

Owega Star is still only seven, and this was just his eighth chase. The handicapper has raised him 4lb for this run, but that is fair, and there could still be a good staying handicap chase in him off a mark of 138. The quality of the performance that he put up on Sunday may be over-looked by some, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next.

23rd November 2014