Horses To Follow » Atirelarigo


Atirelarigo ran a cracker to finish third behind the two market leaders Ballyhenry and Label Des Obeaux in the two-mile-five-furlong novices’ hurdle at Kempton on Friday.

Settled into a nice rhythm by Richard Johnson up on the outside of the field through the early stages of the race, Philip Hobbs’ horse moved up nicely on the outside of leader Ballyhenry and Whats The Scoop as they rounded the home turn. He seemed to be travelling at least as well as his three rivals on the run to the second last flight as the front four pulled clear, probably best of all, and he actually picked up in front at the obstacle. He guessed at it though, he wasn’t sure if he was short or long, ploughed through the top and landed awkwardly. He actually did well to stand up.

The error really should have ended his chance, but he gathered himself again, and he was still in with a chance on the run to the last. He jumped the last in unison with Ballyhenry, but he over-jumped a little and stumbled on landing. That ended it for him, but he still kept on all the way to the line to finish third, beaten two lengths and a neck, with the front three clear.

The Puit D’Or gelding’s form in France looked fairly ordinary, he won just one of his nine races – eight chases and a bumper – there, a two-mile chase. However, he has now joined Philip Hobbs, this was his first run for his new trainer, and he hadn’t run in France since November 2014. Hobbs has obviously found the key to significant improvement, even though that was not apparent in his weakness in the market.

This was a really likeable performance though, Label Des Obeaux and Ballyhenry were the form horses of the race, and Atirelarigo finished among them, the three of them clear. He would almost certainly have beaten Label Des Obeaux for second place had he jumped either of the last two flights better, and Label Des Obeaux is a 139-rated hurdler who won a Grade 2 novices’ hurdle at Sandown on Tingle Creek weekend last December. He may also have beaten Ballyhenry too had he jumped both flights better.

He is a talented performer. He is only six and this was his first run over hurdles and his first run under any code in 467 days. He should progress from this, there should be plenty of improvement forthcoming as his jumping improves.

The handicapper gave him a rating of 123 for this, which may be lenient given that Label Des Obeaux is rated 139 and that he was conceding just 7lb to Atirelarigo. He will be interesting in a good two-and-a-half-mile handicap.

12th February 2016