Horses To Follow » Tombstone


Tombstone did really well to finish second to Long Dog in the Grade 1 Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday. He was settled just behind the front rank in fourth place through the early stages of the race by Bryan Cooper, but the pace was not strong. Ruby Walsh dictated an ordinary pace on Long Dog, with the result that the field were well bunched running down the back straight and as they ran towards the second last flight. Tombstone raced a little keenly, and that was not ideal. Just sixth of the nine runners as they approached the second last, he jumped into the back of Woodland Opera a little at that obstacle, and then got hampered in traffic a little as they rounded the home turn, with the result that he was just fifth, about four lengths behind Long Dog as they leader kicked for home. It was always going to be difficult for any horse to catch a high-class horse like Long Dog as he quickened from the front off a sedate pace, and Tombstone didn’t, but he made a valiant attempt. He made ground into second place as they rose to the final flight, just over two lengths behind the leader. He was a little slower than Long Dog over the last, but he closed all the way to the line to go down by just three parts of a length in the end.

This was a hot race. Eight of the 10 runners had won on their previous runs, and all 10 had and have significant potential.

Tombstone remains an exciting young hurdler. Third in a maiden hurdle at Wexford on his racecourse debut in November last season, he won a bumper at Naas in January on what proved to be his final run last season. Still a novice then this term, he started off by winning a bumper easily at Down Royal in October, and he followed up by landing his maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse in November, beating the talented Pylonthepressure fairly easily, the pair of them clear. He should continue to progress, and he will be of interest now back in another top novices’ hurdle. The Deloitte Hurdle back at Leopardstown in February would be a good next step for him now.

27th December 2015