Horses To Follow » Sayo


Sayo was well beaten in the end in the William Fry Handicap Hurdle, but he ran better than his price and his finishing position suggests. Racing in mid-division, he travelled well to the end of the back straight, at the head of the group that chased the leading group of eight. He came under pressure after the second last flight, but he started to make inroads into the leading group before his exertions and probably his lack of stamina told.

On his previous run, he had run on well to take third place behind his two stable companions Burrows Saint and Saglawy in a two-and-a-half-mile hurdle at Punchestown. He was very slow and deliberate over his early hurdles that day, especially the first but, given time to find his range by Brian Hayes, he warmed to his task a little and, while he still wasn’t cat-like through the latter stages of the race, he was better. He made ground at the third last flight when Sizing John came down and interfered with Saglawy and, while that rival caught him on the run-in, he did stay on past Stratum to take second place, and he did close all the way to the line.

That was his first run over hurdles since he was pulled up in the Galway Hurdle, and that was his first run for almost a year and a half. Willie Mullins’ horse has been jumping fences in the interim but, while he won his beginners’ chase at Galway in October, he hasn’t looked like a natural over fences, so the switch back to hurdles made sense. He has obviously had his issues, but he was a talented juvenile hurdler, he was third in the 2018 Triumph Hurdle, and he should be able to become more fluent over his hurdles as he gains more match practice. It would not be surprising if he stuck to hurdles for now anyway. He is only six and he has run just six times over hurdles, so he still has potential to progress again.

Punchestown, 31st December 2019