Horses To Follow » Spruce Meadows

Spruce Meadows

Spruce Meadows did well to finish second in the one-and-a-half-mile handicap that concluded proceedings at The Curragh on Irish 2000 Guineas day.

Slowly away, the Intikhab gelding was settled towards the rear of the field by David Simmonson through the early stages of the race. He travelled well around the home turn, and he made nice progress into the home straight. Still just seventh as they straightened up for home, he stayed on powerfully from the three-furlong pole. He moved into a share of third place by the time they reached the furlong marker, and he continued to stay on from there all the way to the line to snatch second place from Felix Mendelssohn and Stronger Than Me on the line.

It was a fine performance from Johnny Feane’s horse. It was difficult to make ground from the rear at The Curragh on Saturday, five of the seven winners and the majority of the placed horses raced handily and, in the finale, Spruce Meadows was the only horse who was able to get into the race from the rear. The three horses who, with him, filled the first four places all raced handily. Also, the winner Glamorous Approach had finished third, just over two lengths behind Zhukova, in a listed race at Cork on her previous run, and Spruce Meadows was receiving just 10lb from her here, not including his rider’s allowance. It was probably a fair performance to get as close to her as he did.

Spruce Meadows has had plenty of racing, he is not obviously unexposed. However, this was his first attempt at a mile and a half, and he stayed it well. He probably improved for the step up in trip.

The handicapper left him on his mark of 87 after this, which is 2lb lower than his all-weather mark, and that is a mark off which there could be a decent handicap in him, ideally over a mile and a half. He may be at his best on turf on easy ground, but he does handle fast ground and, if he can start just a little faster next time, that would be another positive. He is one for one at Galway, and he could be a horse for a handicap at the festival this year.


The Curragh, 27th May 2017