Horses To Follow » Squouateur


Squouateur put up another impressive performance to win the two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse on Saturday. Always travelling well in mid-division, rider Mark Walsh was intent on holding onto him for as long as he could. He made nice ground from the fourth last flight, jumped the third last well and looked the likely winner on the run to the second last. A mistake at that flight halted his momentum a little, but he picked up again to hit the front on the run to the final flight, and he stayed on well up the run-in to win nicely.

This was Gordon Elliott’s horse’s second win on the bounce, and it was his third in just five runs over hurdles. He had been impressive in winning on the final day of Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival on his previous run, stepped up to two and a half miles for the first time. Raised 8lb for that, he was at least as impressive on Sunday, again over two and a half miles on heavy ground.

Another 9lb hike brings him up to a mark of 137, which is high enough, but it should also get him into the top handicap hurdles now, which is where he belongs. He obviously goes well on this heavy ground, but he won his maiden at Fairyhouse last November on yielding ground over two miles. It appears that he does not really impress at home, but he does impress on the racecourse. He is only five and he can continue to progress. He is entered in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham, but he would be more interesting in the Martin Pipe Hurdle or the Coral Cup, given that both races are run over around two and a half miles. If he went in the former, he would probably be ridden by Jack Kennedy, and that would be another positive.

20th February 2016