Horses To Follow » Chessman


Chessman put up a really good performance to finish second to Sergie Prokofiev in the Listed Cork Stakes over five and a half furlongs. Settled in rear through the early stages of the race by Oisin Orr, the Acclamation gelding travelled well through the first three furlongs of the race at the back of the field. Moved towards the near side on the run to the 1f marker, he followed Sergei Prokofiev through as he started his run, and he almost caught him. Aidan O’Brien’s horse ran all the way to the line, but Chessman was gaining on him through the final 200 yards and, in getting the better of Smash Williams for the runner-up spot, he only just failed to catch him.

It was a fine run by Richard O’Brien’s horse, who was racing for just the second time for his new trainer. A talented handicapper last season for Archie Watson over 7f, he made his debut for Richard O’Brien in a 6f handicap on the first day of the Irish turf flat season at Naas the previous Sunday. He was poorly drawn that day, but he didn’t shape badly in finishing sixth behind Solar Wave. This was a step forward from that, up in class and down in trip. This stiff extended 5f appeared to suit him well here, and he could be equally well suited to a strongly run 6f. He will be of interest wherever he goes next, and he could be a horse for the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot. It is a positive in that context that he has good Ascot form, he finished a close-up and unlucky-looking fifth in the big Gigaset Handicap over 7f at the King George meeting last July.

Navan, 30th March 2019