Horses To Follow » Abbyssial


Abbyssial was running a big race in the Red Mills Hurdle at Gowran Park on Saturday when he fell at the second last flight.

It is impossible to know how he would have fared had he stood up, but he had just moved up to join Kitten Rock at that point, and he was travelling easily in a dispute of the lead, the pair of them moving on from Triumph Hurdle winner Tiger Roll, when he stepped at the second last flight and came down. He may have beaten Kitten Rock and he may not, but if you had stopped the video there, you would probably have bet 10/11 each of two. Kitten Rock is a progressive young hurdler who is bordering on Champion Hurdle class as a five-year-old, and he came into the race race-fit. Abbyssial was making his belated seasonal debut.

Willie Mullins’ horse was a really good juvenile hurdler last season. He won his first three races for Mullins, a maiden, a conditions race and then the Grade 2 Winning Fair Hurdle at Fairyhouse, before going to Cheltenham for the Triumph Hurdle and falling at the flight in front of the stands. He proved that he was none the worse for that fall by coming back to Punchestown and winning the Grade 1 champion juveniles’ hurdle.

He was well beaten in the Prix Alain du Breil during the summer, but Saturday’s run told you that you could easily put a line through that. The other thing that Saturday’s run told you was that he didn’t have to lead. He settled nicely behind the leaders in Saturday’s race, and that might be important for him for future assignments.

His only Grade 1 entry at Cheltenham is in the World Hurdle, but it is unlikely that he can take his chance in a World Hurdle now on the back of a fall on his only run this term. He is also in the County Hurdle and the Coral Cup, however, and he will be interesting in either, especially in the latter. A handicap rating of 148 could under-estimate his ability quite considerably. By means of comparison, Kitten Rock is rated 153 and Abbyssial was giving him 2lb on Saturday. The Beneficial gelding has the potential to be a fair bit better than that.

14th February 2015