Horses To Follow » Ronald Pump

Ronald Pump

Ronald Pump did well to stay on as well as he did to take second place behind Honeysuckle in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle. This was one of a few races on the day that were not run at a great pace. Rachael Blackmore sat up on the outside of early leader Cracking Smart from flagfall on Honeysuckle, and she moved to the front on the run to the home turn before kicking on the run to the second last. Ronald Pump travelled well for Keith Donoghue on the inside in behind the two leaders. He came under pressure as they rounded the home turn, and he got a little out-paced as Honeysuckle and Beacon Edge kicked on, but he stayed on well from the second last flight, and he finished strongly up the run-in to finish second, just a half a length behind Honeysuckle.

The sedate pace over two and a half miles was never going to be a positive for Matthew Smith’s horse. To put the weakness of the pace into context, according to rough hand-timings, Honeysuckle got from the second flight – also the first flight in the two-mile hurdle races – in a time that was around 17 seconds slower than the time that it took Zanahiyr to cover the same ground in the juveniles’ hurdle. Okay, so Honeysuckle had gone an extra half a mile before she got to the second flight, but she got from the third last to the winning line in a time that was just under three seconds faster than the time that it took Zanahiyr to cover the same distance of ground, and that was also after running a half a mile further before she got to that point. Ronald Pump had had the benefit of a run, he fell at the final flight in the Lismullen Hurdle when he was probably booked for third or fourth, but he proved his class last season when he finished second in the Stayers’ Hurdle, and that was after reportedly getting struck into and losing a shoe. The Grade 1 three-mile Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival is the obvious race for him now. That is a meeting at which he finished second in the Pertemps qualifier over the Christmas Hurdle course and distance last year, on his only run to date at the track. He is still only seven, and it may be that he is still an under-rated horse.

Fairyhouse, 29th November 2020