Horses To Follow » Bishopslough


Bishopslough did well to finish as close as he did in the Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday given that he enjoyed no luck at all in-running.

Alan Fleming’s horse was settled at the back of the field through the early stages of the race by Andrew Lynch, which was not ideal as it turned out, given that the early pace was not strong. Stone last of the 23 runners as they rounded the turn away from the stands with 14 furlongs to run, he travelled well down the back straight towards the outside of the field, and his jumping was really good. Moved towards the centre as they turned at the end of the back straight, he was still last as they approached the second last flight, and he had a wall of horses in front of him. Moved to the inside upon landing over the second last, he went for a run up the inside, but The Plan Man fell back into his lap, with the result that he had to take back and go around. Still just 16th or 17th of the 23 runners as they straightened up for home, he moved back towards the outside and he finished off his race well, over the last and up to the winning line, to finish seventh, beaten a total of 11 lengths by the winner Henry Higgins, but beaten a total of just a length for fourth place.

Bishopslough was a progressive handicap hurdler for Tony Mullins two seasons ago, and he shaped well in his two chases last summer. He won his beginners’ chase at Killarney in May on his first run since he finished down the field in last year’s Hurdle, and he finished a good third behind Sizing Platinum and Rock The World in a novices’ chase at the Galway Festival. He is interesting as a novice chaser, but he is even more interesting now as a handicap hurdler, given that he is rated 20lb lower over hurdles than over fences. It may be that he will prove to be a better chaser, but a rating of 118 over hurdles gives him a lot of leeway, and Sunday’s run, together with his chase mark of 138, suggests that he could be a well-handicapped horse now over hurdles. He goes well on soft ground and on good ground, and it may be that a step up from the minimum trip now will bring about further improvement. He was staying on well here, and he stayed on well up the hill at Galway in the summer after two and a quarter miles.

17th January 2016