Horses To Follow » The Plan Man

The Plan Man

The Plan Man put up a really good performance to finish second to Clondaw Warrior in the two-mile handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse on Tuesday, given that he was up with the pace from early in a race that was probably run to suit the hold-up horses.

Settled in third place by David Mullins through the early stages of the race behind breakaway leaders Lilshane and Officieux and clear of the main body of the field, he travelled and jumped well through his race, and it looked like he might win when he eased to the front, still travelling well, as they raced around the home turn. Desoto County challenged at the second last, but the Gigginstown House horse picked up again to keep him at bay. Then Ruby Walsh delivered Clondaw Warrior with an irresistible run at the final flight, and he went on to win well, but The Plan Man kept on well all the way to the line to retain second place.

This was a race in which it was probably an advantage to be held up. Five of the first six home raced in mid-division or worse. The Plan Man was the only one of the first six home who raced up with the pace. More than that, he pushed the pace from over a mile out, and he finished second, he beat everything else in the race with the exception of the talented and patiently-ridden winner. The Plan Man was weak in the market, and Gigginstown’s rider Bryan Cooper rode Desoto County instead of him. Everything suggested that expectation levels from connections were low.

Tony Martin’s horse has had plenty of racing, but he is still only six, and this was his first run since he disappointed in the Coral Hurdle at Leopardstown in January. He is entitled to improve for this run. He obviously appreciated better ground on Tuesday, but he should improve for even better ground as we move through the spring. He will be interesting if he runs at Punchestown, and he will be interesting through the summer. He could be a Galway Hurdle horse, he finished second in a handicap hurdle at the Galway Festival last year.

29th March 2016