Horses To Follow » Sir Scorpion

Sir Scorpion

Sir Scorpion put up a nice performance to land the two-mile handicap hurdle at Leopardstown on Saturday.

Fairly weak in the market in the morning, but well-supported before the off, the Tom Mullins-trained gelding was settled well back in the field and towards the outside by Slippers Madden through the early stages of the race. Jumping well down the back straight, he travelled well, widest of all, out of the back straight, and he moved up nicely towards the leaders on the run to the second last flight. But he made a mistake at that obstacle, at a crucial stage of the race just as the pace was increasing, with the result that he was only fifth rounding the home turn as Is Herself About kicked from the front.

He progressed nicely on the outside on the run to the final flight, however, and he moved up menacingly behind the leader on the run to the last. A slow jump there, however, where he just got in tight and landed a little flat-footed, saw him demoted to fourth place momentarily before Madden got after him again, and rode him out just hands-and-heels to get up and win by a cheeky enough half-length from his stable companion Princely Conn.

This was just JP McManus’ horse’s seventh ever run, and just his fourth over hurdles. Second to big Cheltenham Bumper hope Moon Racer on his racecourse debut at Fairyhouse last April, when he had to highly promising Tycoon Prince behind him in fourth, the Scorpion gelding had been disappointing in his two subsequent bumpers last summer, and it has taken him a little while to get his eye in over hurdles. Saturday’s run was his first in a handicap, and it was his best performance since his racecourse debut by some way. He had shaped encouragingly in Velvet Maker’s maiden at Fairyhouse at the end of January, but this was another step forward.

The handicapper has raised him 8lb for this, but that is fine, it leaves him on a mark of 112, and that is a that he should be able to surpass. He is only six, and he has lots of scope for progression. He will be interesting now in a two-mile handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse or Punchestown or both.

28th February 2015