Horses To Follow » Woodford Island

Woodford Island

Woodford Island put up a good performance to finish second behind Oscar Sam in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday.

Settled nicely in mid-division through the early stages of the race by Jack Kennedy, Gordon Elliott’s horse travelled and jumped well, and he had a nice position just behind the leaders at the fourth last flight. He got a little outpaced as the quickened on the run across the top of the course, however, with the result that he came under pressure before they started around the home turn. He responded to that pressure, he picked up well and he stayed on through horses on the run to the final flight. By then, the well-backed favourite Oscar Sam had flown, he wasn’t for catching, but Woodford Island stayed on all the way to the line, reducing the deficit to two lengths behind the admittedly eased-down winner, and coming nicely clear of Letter Of Credit in third.

This was a good run from Gordon Elliott’s horse, the winner was obviously a really well handicapped horse, he was backed accordingly, and Woodford Island can progress from this run. He is only four and this was just his fourth ever run over hurdles, and his first handicap. A mark of 114 was fair for his debut, and he should be well able to cope with a 3lb hike. He has never won, but he shaped well on his penultimate run before this to finish second in a maiden behind all-the-way winner Bowenscourt. He shaped that day as if he would stay further than two and a half miles, and he left that impression on Sunday as well. He should do better off a stronger pace, and it would be well worth stepping him up in trip, to two miles and six furlongs or even three miles. He will be of interest in another handicap now off his new mark.

6th December 2015