Horses To Follow » Phil’s Magic

Phil’s Magic

Phil’s Magic put up a good performance to finish third behind Rock On Fruity in the Galway Plate Trial run over the Plate distance of two miles and six furlongs at Limerick on Sunday.

Setting off towards the rear of the field and on the inside, he was held up by Donagh Meyler through the early stages of the race. Second last of the remaining 13 runners as they moved down the back straight first time, he was a little deliberate over the first few fences, but he warmed nicely to his task. His jumping was fluent and accurate for the last three quarters of the race, and he made nice progress to move into sixth place of the leading group of six on the run out of the backs straight. Moving into fourth place at the second last fence, he stayed on well from there over the last, closing all the way to the line to get past Aranhill Chief for third place, just two and a half lengths behind the winner Rock On Fruity.

It was a nice performance by the Fruits Of Love gelding on just his second run for Tony Martin. The blinkers that replaced the cheekpieces and visor at Kilbeggan on his debut for his new trainer were abandoned here, with a tongue-tie was added, and that was no liability.

Winner of a listed hurdle race for Sandra Hughes in 2015, he has yet to win a chase in 14 attempts now, but he did run well at Punchestown twice in the early summer last year, and his last two runs now have been encouraging. The handicapper raised him 2lb for this run, but that still leaves him on a mark of just 120, 9lb lower than his peak over fences and 15lb lower than his peak over hurdles.

That mark will not be even nearly high enough to get him into the Galway Plate – the bottom weight last year raced off a mark of 134 – but he will be of interest if he does go to Galway now, which he surely will. The stiff Galway finish should suit him well. He could run in the beginners’ chase in which he finished sixth last year, but he would be more interesting in a handicap.

9th July 2017