Horses To Follow » Grandee


Grandee put up a good performance to go down by just a head to the progressive Naughty Or Nice in the Listed Yeats Stakes at Navan on Saturday.

The Lope De Vega colt travelled nicely for Colm O’Donoghue through his race just behind the leaders. He was niggled along by O’Donoghue as they passed the three furlong pole, but he was along the inside and he still had horses in front of him as Naughty Or Nice was delivered with her run one off the rail. Taken off the rail as they ran to the furlong pole, he had to come around the two Ballydoyle colts Belgravia and Finn McCool, but he stayed on really well up the hill once in the clear.

It never really looked like he was going to catch the winner, and the winner’s rider Declan McDonogh said afterwards that she was idling a little in front, but there was still a lot to like about the manner in which Grandee ran all the way to the line, getting to within a head of John Oxx’s filly by the time they reached it. It was a good performance by the runner-up, to get as close as he did to a talented and progressive filly, who could be bound for the Ribblesdale Stakes now and who should also be worth following.

You couldn’t really say that Jessica Harrington’s colt was an unlucky loser or anything, but he just didn’t have the run of the race, he lost ground and a little bit of momentum when he had to check to his outside in order to deliver his challenge, and he stayed on really willingly. This was the Lope De Vega colt’s first foray beyond a mile and a quarter, and he stayed this one-mile-and-five-furlong trip really well. Winner of his maiden over nine furlongs at The Curragh last October on his fourth attempt, he wasn’t disgraced on his seasonal debut in the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes – from which the second, third and fourth emerged to finish first, second and third in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial – but that was over 10 furlongs.

He appeared to be much happier over this longer trip. He is entered in the Queen’s Vase Stakes at Royal Ascot, and that looks like a good target for him now. The distance of that race has been reduced this year from two miles to a mile and six furlongs, and that should suit him well, at a stiff galloping track like Ascot.

20th May 2017