Horses To Follow » Byerley Babe

Byerley Babe

Byerley Babe put up a good performance to finish second to Foxrock in the Leopardstown Chase at Leopardstown on Sunday.

Fitted with a hood for the first time, and stepping up to two miles five furlongs, the second longest trip over which she had ever raced in her life under Rules, Robert Tyner’s mare travelled really well through her race for AP McCoy, as is her wont. She jumped the third last really well on the inside, and actually moved up to second place behind long-time leader Fever Pitch on the run to the second last fence. She jumped that fence well, and it appeared as if she was travelling better than the ultimate winner Foxrock, as the pair of them moved into second and third places respectively on the run around the home turn. She was actually a little short of room until AP took her to the outside on the run to the final fence.

She moved up on the outside of Foxrock at the final fence, and jumped the obstacle within a half a length of Ted Walsh’s horse. However, that was as close as she got. The gelding just proved stronger than her on the run-in, and he powered away as she wilted. In the end, she lost five lengths on him between the final fence and the winning line, and she only just held off Heaney for the runner-up spot.

The winner Foxrock was very game, but it was still a fine performance from JP McManus’ mare in chasing him home. She travelled like the best horse in the race for a long way, but this trip on the holding ground up Leopardstown’s stiff finishing incline probably just stretched her stamina beyond its limit. The fitting of a hood for the first time probably brought about a little improvement, and she can do better now perhaps dropped a little in trip and maybe racing on genuinely soft ground. The handicapper raised her 3lb to a career-high mark of 137, but she is in the form of her life.

18th January 2015