Horses To Follow » Runswick Royal

Runswick Royal

Runswick Royal put up a good performance to win the two-mile handicap hurdle at Kelso last Saturday.

Always travelling well for Ryan Day behind the clear leader Sleepy Haven, he picked up nicely to hit the front at the second last flight, and he came clear nicely on the run-in to post an impressive victory.

There was a lot to like about this performance by Ann Hamilton’s horse. He travelled like a good horse through the race, he picked up well at the second last, and he came nicely clear of a good yardstick who had returned to form on his previous run, and who was clear of the rest of the field. And the winning time was good, 0.11secs/furlong faster than Racing Post par.

There is a suspicion that Runswick Royal is at his best at Kelso, his record there over hurdles and fences now reads 1211, and the 2 was when he went down by a short head in a novices’ chase on his second run over fences. That said, he easily landed a decent novices’ chase at Newcastle two years ago and, on his previous run before Saturday, he battled on well to win a two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle at Ayr.

Also, he looks like an improved horse now. Off the track for a year and a half with a kissing spine, he returned at Musselburgh on New Year’s Day this year, and he built on that return to win that handicap hurdle next time at Ayr off a mark of 133. He raced off a mark of 135 on Saturday, which was still obviously well within range.

The handicapper raised him another 7lb for Saturday’s win, but that still leaves him on a mark of 142, which is 4lb lower than his peak rating over fences, a rating off which he might have won a good three-mile novices’ handicap chase at Ayr’s Scottish National meeting two years ago had he not been hampered and fallen at the last fence.

He will be of interest now off his new mark if he runs over hurdles again, which is apparently the plan, probably at the Scottish National meeting again. He would also be interest though if he went over fences again now, given that his chase rating of 138 is 4lb lower than his hurdles rating. Saturday’s win was gained over two miles, but we know that he stays three miles, and he should be even better on the better ground that he should encounter later in the spring.

25th March 2017