Horses To Follow » HTF – Ireland


Yafordadoe could hardly have been more impressive than he was in winning the four-year-olds’ handicap hurdle at Ballinrobe on Monday. His jumping warmed up as the race developed, he travelled nicely for Jonathan Moore in behind Laura Bullion and Battle Of Wills as they left the back straight, he moved easily into the lead on the run to the final flight, he jumped that obstacle well, and he won easily.

An easy winner of his maiden hurdle at Cork last month, Gavin Cromwell’s horse went into the race in good form. He ran a fine race on the flat at Cork on his previous run to chase home David Garrick in a one-mile handicap.

The handicapper raised him by 17lb for this performance to a mark of 125. That is not an insignificant hike, but he appeared to win with bucketloads in hand. Also, it was just his seventh run over hurdles so, as a four-year-old, he has lots of potential for further progression. The Lartigue Hurdle at Listowel next month looks like a good target for him now, and he will be of interest if he takes his chance in that.

Ballinrobe, 24th August 2020


Telmesomethinggirl ran out an impressive winner of the John H Kierans Memorial Mares’ Hurdle at Bellewstown on Tuesday evening. Sent to the front from flagfall, she was quickly into a nice racing rhythm for Rachael Blackmore, and her jumping was good. She was tracked through her race by Bon Retour, but the favourite came under pressure at the third last flight as Henry de Bromhead’s mare continued to travel well in front. The further they went, the stronger she appeared to get. She moved on on the run to the second last flight, jumped that obstacle well and came clear on the run to the last, before staying on strongly up the run-in.

Bon Retour probably under-performed, but it was still a really likeable performance by Kenny Alexander’s mare. Her jumping was very good, and she was strong all the way to the line, leaving the impression that she could improve again for a step up in trip. She is progressive anyway, she is only five and this was just her sixth run over hurdles. She ran well on her previous run at Galway over two miles, in finishing a close-up third behind two talented rivals in The Very Man and Getaway Gorgeous, but this was probably a step forward from that. She obviously handles this soft ground well, she should continue to progress, and she could improve again for stepping up again in trip. She will be of interest in mares’ hurdles, but she would also be of interest if connections chose to go down the handicap route. She could prove to be a fair bit better then her current rating of 120.

Bellewstown, 25th August 2020

Thundering Nights

Thundering Nights put up another impressive  performance to win the Group 3 Snow Fairy Stakes at The Curragh on Friday. Joseph O’Brien’s filly quickly settled into a nice racing rhythm for Shane Crosse, up on the outside of early leaders Lovelier and Lady Wannabe. She travelled well to the two-furlong marker, and she picked up when her rider asked her to go and win her race. Albigna challenged on the far side, but Thundering Nights was strong all the way to the line, and she was actually going away again a little inside the final 50 yards.

This was Albigna’s first run since she ran in the Irish 1000 Guineas in June and she may not have been at her best but, even so, it was a hugely likeable performance by Joseph O’Brien’s filly, probably a career-best. Winner of her maiden last October at Galway on soft ground, she proved that she could handle better ground when she won at Leopardstown in early August on good ground, but she appeared to be very happy on soft ground back at The Curragh on Friday, and that will be a positive as we move into the autumn. Her dam won over a mile and a half and a mile and six furlongs, and she races as if she could improve for a step up to a mile and a quarter or a mile and a half. She has raced just six times in her life, so she has lots of scope for further progression. She is a really likeable filly.

The Curragh, 28th August 2020


Coulthard did well to finish as close as he did in the Group 2 Heider Family Stables Round Tower Stakes at The Curragh on Friday evening. He went sharply to his right out of the gate, rider Leigh Roche did well to straighten him up as quickly as he did, but it meant that he had to settle in last of the eight runners, five or six lengths behind the early leader Giorgio Vasari. He was a little keen too after that, and he got squeezed out a bit at the three-furlong marker. Still last at the twoo-furlong pole, he picked up nicely as they raced to the furlong marker. Switched towards the far side, he mounted a challenge, he moved up on the far side of New Treasure and Teresa Mendoza to deliver a challenge. He just appeared to tire close home, dropping to third, but that was understandable. In the end, he was beaten less than two lengths by the winner, and the first three were four lengths clear of the fourth horse.

Michael O’Callaghan’s colt shaped promisingly on his racecourse debut, just six days earlier, in finishing fifth behind Magna Grecia’s half-brother St Mark’s Basilica in a six-furlong maiden at The Curragh, and it is significant that his trainer thought enough of him to allow him take his chance in a Group 3 race on his second run, and still a maiden. He was a big price on Friday, but he proved that he was well up to this level, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next.

The Curragh, 28th August 2020

Nordic Passage

Nordic Passage did well to get as close as he did in the Listed Abergwaun Stakes at Navan on Saturday. Slowly away, he was fully three lengths behind the second last horse before they had gone 100 yards. Niggled along at that point by Donagh O’Connor, he was always playing catch-up, he was still last of the nine runners as they raced to the furlong marker. He finished off his race really strongly though, he made good progress through the final furlong to take fourth place behind Make A Challenge and Urban Beat, beaten less than three lengths, closest at the finish.

Johnny Levins’ horse won over seven furlongs on his racecourse debut two years ago when he was with John Gosden, and he won over a mile at Dundalk last winter for Levins, but he has found his metier since his trainer has sent him sprinting. He won over five furlongs at Naas off a mark of 75 on the day that racing resumed in early June, and he won over six furlongs at The Curragh in early July off a mark of 85, and he won back at The Curragh in late July over five furlongs off a mark of 91. He is rated 95 now, but there could still be a good sprint handicap in him off that type of mark. He goes well at The Curragh, and the Bold Lad Sprint Premier Handicap there on Irish Champions Weekend would be a good target for him.

Navan, 29th August 2020

©, 31st August 2020