Horses To Follow » Ted Veale

Ted Veale

Ted Veale put up a really nice performance to finish third in the BoyleSports Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday.

Held up well out the back in the early stages of the race by Shane Shortall, he wasn’t hampered by the fallers at the fourth last flight, but he got into a bit of scrimmaging shortly afterwards towards the inside, which can’t have helped. No better than 15th or 16th as they left the back straight, he travelled well around the top of the track over the second last flight, started to pick up among traffic at the top of the home straight, and then finished really well up the run-in, coming from ninth place at the final flight to get up and finish third, just five lengths behind the winner.

This was a race in which it was an advantage to race handily. Five of the first six home all raced in mid-division or more prominently through the early stages of the race. Ted Veale was the only one of the first six home who was able to get into the race from the rear, and he finished third.

Tony Martin’s horse was racing off a mark of 141 on Sunday. That is 11lb higher than the mark off which he finished third in the race in 2013, but he was a really well-handicapped horse that day, and he improved over hurdles since then. He won the County Hurdle on his next run, after which he was raised to a mark of 142, and he finished second to Jezki in the Grade 1 two-mile novices’ hurdle at the Punchestown Festival on his next run.

He had not run over hurdles before Sunday since he finished eighth in the 2013 Galway Hurdle, but he had run well on the flat on a couple of occasions, and he had put in a couple of good performances over fences, including when he dead-heated for second place with an admittedly below par Vautour behind Clarcam in the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown on St Stephen’s Day. That was his last run before Sunday.

It will be interesting to see where Tony Martin goes next with the Revoque gelding. The handicapper raised him by just 3lb for Sunday’s run, but that is fair, there could still be a good handicap in him off a mark of 144. He could be a better horse now over hurdles than he was a year and a half ago.

The County Hurdle at Cheltenham is the obvious target for him again. We know that he handles the track and Festival conditions, so he would be of interest in that race if it is confirmed as his target.

18th January 2015