Horses To Follow » Real Steel

Real Steel

Real Steel did really well to finish as close as he did in third place in the Drinmore Chase at Fairyhouse on Sunday.

Allowed stride along in front from flagfall by Brian O’Connell, Mouse Morris’ horse was out to his left a little over each of the first four fences, but he was quite dramatically out to his left at the fifth, the first ditch, and again at the sixth. Despite that, he retained second place behind Apache Stronghold going down the back straight. He was still out to his left at his fences, but the presence of another horse up there with him on his inside appeared to keep him straighter. He and Apache Stronghold went toe to toe for a couple of fences, probably faster than ideal with five or six furlongs still to run, the pair of them stretching about eight lengths clear of the main field.

Real Steel went on again at the fourth last, but he was out to his left again at the third last once in front. Even so, he led into the home straight, he still travelled well in front. He was joined by Valseur Lido at the second last fence, however, and Willie Mullins horse picked up impressively on the far side with a race-winning move, but Real Steel kept on well to finish third, ceding the runner-up spot to Apache Stronghold on the run to the last but still finishing about eight lengths in front of Band Of Blood in fourth.

Real Steel should be better now back on a left-handed track. He did run well over hurdles in the past at Fairyhouse and Punchestown, and he won his maiden at Cork, but he won a Grade 2 hurdle at left-handed Naas, and it may be the case that, over fences, he will be better going left-handed. Certainly, he was impressive in winning his beginners’ chase going left-handed at Naas on his only previous run over fences. It may be that he will be okay at a right-handed track if he has another horse for company or if he races in behind runners, but he does seem to like leading, so the percentage call for now is to favour a left-handed track with him.

There is no doubt that Mouse Morris’ horse is a talented individual. He was a nicely progressive novice hurdler last season, he won his Grade 2 contest at Naas in February, and he ran well to finish second to Valseur Lido, his conqueror again on Sunday, in a Grade 2 contest at Fairyhouse in April.

He always shaped as if he would improve for a step up from the minimum trip, he won his beginners’ chase over two miles and three furlongs, and this was another step forward on the step up by another furlong in trip. He will be interesting now stepped up to three miles and back at a left-handed track. That brings the Grade 1 three-mile chase at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival onto his radar, as well as the RSA Chase.

30th November 2014