Horses To Follow » Warnaq


Warnaq was impressive in winning the 1m handicap. Smartly away from her outside stall, eight of eight, she quickly settled into a nice racing rhythm in front for Wayne Lordan, and she crossed over easily to the inside rail before the end of the back straight. She moved easily in front into the home straight as, one by one, her rivals started to come off the bridle. Inscribe moved up on the outside on the run to the 2f pole and So You Thought moved well in behind, but neither could to with Matthew Smith’s filly when she kicked. She moved clear at the 1f pole, and she stayed on strongly all the way up the hill to put 6l between herself and her pursuers by the time she reached the winning line.

This was an impressive performance from Warnaq on just her fourth ever run on the flat. There was a sense that she had the run of the race, that she had an easy time of it in front, but she appeared to set a decent pace on the ground, it wasn’t as if she stole it from the front, and it is difficult to argue that she wasn’t the best horse in the race at the weights on the day by a fair way. It took her three attempts to win her maiden at the back-end of last season, but she did, at Naas in November, stepped up from 9f to 12f. It didn’t really happen for her in three runs over hurdles, but this was a significant step forward, and it is interesting that her trainer said afterwards that she would be kept to the flat, at least for now.

The Arcano filly obviously goes well on this soft ground, but her sire won his maiden on fast ground and he won the July Stakes and the Prix Morny on good ground, her dam won her maiden on good ground and her grandam won and was Group 3 placed on fast ground, so it may be that she is not fully dependent on soft ground. Winner of her maiden over a mile and a half, she could do even better when she steps up from this 1m trip.

She appeared to enjoy being ridden aggressively over this shortened trip, but these tactics could also be effective over a longer trip. The handicapper raised her by 9lb for this to a mark of 85, but she appeared to win with plenty in hand. Also, this was just her fourth run on the flat and just her seventh run under all codes, so she has lots of potential for progression. She is entered in a 12f handicap at Limerick on Saturday, and she will be of interest if she takes her chance in that.

Navan, 7th April 2018