Horses To Follow » Bonny Kate

Bonny Kate

Bonny Kate put up a really nice performance to win the Grand National Trial at Punchestown on Sunday.

Sent to the front from flagfall by Sean Flanagan, she jumped well and had most of her rivals in trouble before she reached the third last fence. Baie Des Iles travelled well behind her for most of the way, and he did close up and looked a threat on the run to final fence. However, Bonny Kate jumped that well and kept on really well up the run-in to win by eight lengths, with Baie Des Isles finishing miles clear of the rest of the field.

This was a really likeable performance from Noel Meade’s mare. She seemed to enjoy herself bowling along in front, she beat a useful and progressive rival in Baie Des Iles well, and the pair of them were clear of Folsom Blue, who won this race two years ago and who finished third in the Irish National later that season. The winner’s jumping was good, and she saw out this three-and-a-half-mile trip really well, the longest trip by far over which she had ever raced. Indeed, the longest before this was the two miles and five and a half furlongs of the beginners’ chase that she won at Fairyhouse in November on her previous run. She was entered in the Thyestes Chase over three miles, but she missed out by one on getting into the race. She would surely have been competitive in that race on this evidence, but she would have been 5lb out of the handicap, and it would obviously have been a far more competitive race. She may not have enjoyed an easy lead in that race, like she did here.

The handicapper raised her 12lb for this, which is not insignificant, but she won with a little in hand, and she has the potential to progress by that much at least. She is only six, and this was just her fourth chase. The should be more to come.

Trainer Noel Meade mentioned the Irish Grand National and the National Hunt Chase as potential targets for her now. She would be interesting in both race, but she would be of particular interest in the Irish National off her new mark of 137. That mark should get her into the race on a nice racing weight, somewhere around the mid-10sts. Her prominent style of racing would suit the Irish National well, and she proved that she can jump around Fairyhouse when she won her beginners’ chase there last November. Also, she goes well right-handed, her record at right-handed tracks reads 111PU11, and she is zero for four going left.

31st January 2016