Horses To Follow » Crown Theatre

Crown Theatre

Crown Theatre was a little unlucky not to win the two-mile handicap chase at Cork on Sunday. Settled nicely towards the rear of the field by Andrew Lynch through the early stages of the race, well back behind a strong pace, he moved easily across the top of the track on the run to the home turn. No better than ninth as they rounded the bend, he was a little tight for room along the inside for a few strides, but he travelled well into the home straight. He jumped into a share of second place at the third last and, so well was he travelled, he jumped into the lead at the second last. It is a fair way home from there, however, especially given how fast they went early on. He kicked into a four-length lead on the run to the last and, when he jumped the fence well, he looked home for all money. However, he idled on the run-in, and that allowed last year’s winner Gentleman Duke back up to wrest the prize from him.

It was still a fine run from the runner-up. Henry de Bromhead’s horse jumped well in the main, and he did just about everything right. If anything, he travelled too well into the home straight, he jumped too well and he made his ground too quickly, all of which meant that he hit the front earlier than ideal. It was a decent race, run at a good pace and in a good time, and Crown Theatre was almost certainly the best horse in it on the day.

He goes well on this good ground, but he has run well also on soft ground in the past. More importantly, he is progressive over both fences and hurdles. On his previous run, at Navan in September, on his first run back after a 10-week break, he ran a cracker to chase home the progressive Phil The Flyer. He raced off a hurdles mark of 109 that day, and that handicapper raised him to a mark of 112, but that is still a mark that he should be able to exploit over hurdles.

He is a better chaser, however, as evidenced by a 17lb higher mark over fences. He was raised just 3lb over fences too for Sunday’s run, to a mark of 129, and that is not harsh. He is only six and Sunday’s run was just his seventh over fences. He has lots of scope for progression, and he will be of interest wherever he runs next.

18th October 2015