Horses To Follow » HTF – Ireland

Pearls Galore

Champers Elysees continued her march forward when she won the Group 3 Coolmore Stud Fairy Bridge Stakes at Gowran Park on Wednesday, but Pearls Galore put up big effort in chasing her home.

Paddy Twomey’s filly was a little keen very early on, up on the outside of early leader Auxilia, but she settled nicely in third place as they raced out of the back straight. Moved towards the near side by Billy Lee early in the home straight, she picked up well at the two-furlong marker and, even after Champers Elysees passed her, she kept on all the way to the line, going down by just a half a length to the winner and pulling five lengths clear of Parent’s Prayer in third.

It was a big run by the Invincible Spirit filly, to get as close as she did to Champers Elysees, who may now be allowed take her chance in the Group 1 Matron Stakes at Leopardstown on Irish Champions’ Weekend. Winner of a Limerick maiden in July on her first run for Paddy Twomey since her arrival from France, she was impressive in winning a fillies’ handicap at Cork on her next run, and she proved here that she is well worth her place in Pattern company.

This seven-furlong trip is a good trip for her, and she goes well on good ground as well as on this soft ground. She holds entries in the Group 3 Sceptre Stakes at Doncaster and in the Listed Tetrarch Stakes at Cork on Wednesday, and she will be of interest if she takes her chance in either. If she skips both, if she is given more time by her trainer, she will be of interest wherever she goes next. She is a lightly-raced filly who has the scope to continue to progress.

Gowran Park, 2nd September 2020

Zoom Zoom Babe

Zoom Zoom Babe did well to keep on as well as she did to finish second behind Gee Rex in the nine-and-a-half-furlong Mansionbet Handicap at Gowran Park on Wednesday. Strong in the market beforehand, Joseph O’Brien’s filly travelled well through her race towards the rear of a tightly-packed field. She picked up as the field fanned out in the home straight, but she met a little bit of trouble as she tried to make ground among horses. Switched towards the far side by Dylan Brown McMonagle, she stayed on well through the final furlong to just get up for second place behind her stable companion.

This was another good run in defeat from the Footstepsinthesand filly. She is a little bit unlucky not to have won yet this season. She was just caught by Star Of Cashel at Killarney in July, and she hasn’t had a lot of luck in-running in her three runs in the interim. Winner of her nursery at Leopardstown last October off a mark of 70, she remains potentially well handicapped on a mark in the mid-70s. A well-run mile on easy ground suits her well and, just a three-year-old, she has the potential to go higher.

Gowran Park, 2nd September 2020

Robin Des Sheikh

Robin Des Skeikh was impressive in winning his maiden at Navan on Saturday, and he should be able to go forward again now. He was slowly away, but he was sharply into his stride, and he managed to get to the front and bag the inside rail from stall 11 after they had gone a furlong. He was a little keen once in front, he went about four lengths clear as they raced to the home turn, but rider Like McAteer always looked happy. The Dawn Approach gelding travelled well to the two-furlong marker and, when his rider gave him a squeeze, he picked up again. Runner-up Dark Pine mounted a challenge, but it never looked likely to prevail, and Robin Des Sheikh was strong all the way to the line.

Paul Flynn’s horse was racing for just the fourth time here, and he continues to progress with racing. Unraced as a juvenile, he was just caught close home in a seven-furlong maiden at Dundalk on his previous run, but he had run over nine and a half and 10 furlongs, and he saw out the mile well on Saturday. He was held up over the longer trips, but this could be optimal for him, ridden aggressively over a mile.

Navan, 5th September 2020

Sargent Lightfoot

Sargent Lightfoot’s day may not be far away now. Fairly strong in the market before the two-and-a-quarter-mile handicap hurdle at Ballinrobe on Sunday, he was settled towards the rear of the field early on by Sean Flanagan. He had just three of his rivals behind him as they passed the winning line with two circuits to run, but he travelled well through his race, even if his jumping wasn’t overly fluent on occasion.

He made nice ground down the back straight final time along the inside, but he ran into a little bit of traffic as they raced to the end of the back straight with three furlongs to run and just one flight to jump. Checked a little at the end of the back straight, and only sixth as they started around the home turn, he made good ground around the inside, moved into third place on the run to the last, jumped past long-time leader Trees Valley at the last and stayed on well up the run-in. He just couldn’t catch the winner Ciankyle, but he stayed on all the way to the line to go down by just a half a length, pulling 12 lengths clear of the rest.

Adrian Murray’s horse ran better on his previous run too at Kilbeggan than the bare form of that performance suggests. He travelled very well in front that day for a long way before tiring on the holding ground. That was his first run since March, so he was entitled to get tired, and Sunday’s performance was a nice step forward from that. It was just his sixth run too over hurdles, and his eighth run under all codes so, still only six, he has the potential to progress again.

Ballinrobe, 6th September 2020

Doctor Duffy

It wasn’t all plain sailing for Doctor Duffy in the McHale Mayo National at Ballinrobe on Sunday, but he ran out an impressive winner in the end. He started off in the front rank, but a slight mistake at the first fence saw him shuffled back to seventh place as they raced up the home straight first time. He made a mistake at the last fence on the first circuit too, and it looked like he wasn’t really travelling after that, but he moved up on the inside as they raced down the back straight, and he had manoeuvred his way to the front by the time they raced up the home straight for the second time. After that, it was all more straightforward. He jumped well in front for Kevin Brouder, he travelled well, he stretched his field out, and he stayed on well from the second last fence to win nicely from Chavi Artist, who himself stayed on nicely to take the runner-up spot.

Charles Byrnes’ horse is a talented individual who probably hasn’t won as often over hurdles as his talent suggested he should, but he is finding his range over fences now. Second in two of his first three chases, he was impressive in winning his beginners’ chase on his fourth attempt at Kilbeggan in early August. He wore a visor for the first time that day, and he raced prominently from early, a combination that obviously appears to suit him well at this juncture.

His trainer mentioned the Kerry National as a potential target now, and he will be of interest if he lines up in that. He will obviously be raised by the handicapper for this victory, but he was racing on Sunday off a mark of 135, 2lb lower than his hurdles mark, and he is a seven-year-old who has raced just five times over fences, so he has the potential to continue to improve. Charles Byrnes sent out Alfa Beat to win the Kerry National in 2010, so he knows what is required.

Ballinrobe, 6th September 2020

©, 7th September 2020