Horses To Follow » Sternrubin


Sternrubin put up a fairly remarkable performance to dead-heat with Jolly’s Cracked It for the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday, given how hard he went up front from flagfall.

Philip Hobbs’ horse was fully four lengths clear of habitual pace-setter Rayvin Black as they passed the winning post on the first circuit, and if you are ahead of Rayvin Black after two furlongs, you are probably going too fast. At that point, the first three were clear of the field, and the third, fourth and fifth horses home, Renneti, Some Plan and Song Light, were all out the back, they occupied three of the last five positions in the field of 21, while fellow-dead-heater Jollys Cracked It was also towards the rear.

Sternrubin settled into a lovely rhythm in front. He pinged along down the side of the course to Swinley Bottom, then he turned and pinged along up the other side. By the time he got to the home turn, he was travelling nicely in front, his immediate pursuers had dropped away, and just about everything else was coming under pressure in behind.

You would have forgiven Sternrubin if he had folded tamely from that point, but he didn’t. He jumped the last two flights well, and he stayed on strongly all the way to the line. Jolly’s Cracked It actually passed him half way up the run-in, he went at least a neck up and looked set for victory, so there was a lot to like about the manner in which Sternrubin battled back to force a dead heat. That was the action of a horse with a willing attitude and lots of strength. It was a massive performance in a race in which he almost certainly went too fast, and the winning time was seriously impressive, by far the fastest comparative time on the day.

The Authorized gelding had clocked a good time too when he won on his previous run, his seasonal debut at Newbury. He made all that day too, and he stayed on well to beat John Constable by four lengths. There was a general feeling around that he had been afforded an easy lead that day, but the winning time there was good too, he still had to physically cover the ground in the time.

The handicapper has raised him 8lb to a mark of 142 for this performance, but the performance merited that. He is only four, and this was just his eighth run over hurdles, so it is probable that he is still improving. He has only once been out of the first two in those eight runs, he finished second in four of his first five, and now he has won his next three. He is tough, he has pace, he stays well and he jumps well. He has all the armoury to progress further. He has never run at Cheltenham, but he could out-strip his new rating now. He handles this easy ground well, but he also goes well on good ground, he is an exciting young hurdler and he should continue to progress.


19th December 2015