Horses To Follow » Mint Condition

Mint Condition

Mint Condition stayed on well to finish second in the Grade 2 Leamington Novices’ Hurdle at Warwick on Saturday. Jennie Candlish’s horse travelled well through his race, but he got caught a little for pace as they quickened on the run around the home turn. He was crowded out of it on the run to the second last flight and it didn’t help that he got in tight to that obstacle and landed a little flat-footed. Switched towards the near side, he still had three lengths to find with the winner Adrimel when they landed over the final flight, but he stayed on really strongly up the home straight to get to within a neck of Tom Lacey’s horse by the time they reached the winning line.

This was probably a career-best from Mint Condition. Winner of three of his four previous races this season, all handicaps, he had risen from a mark of 115 to a mark of 135 prior to Saturday’s race, and he proved that he was well up to that mark. He continues to progress, and he stays this two-mile-five-furlong trip well, but he left the impression that he could improve for a step up to three miles. He could be good enough to contest the Albert Bartlett Hurdle on this evidence, but he also has the option of returning to handicaps. The handicapper raised him by just 3lb to a mark of 138 for this, which was more than fair. That is a mark that could still under-estimate his ability, given his rate of progression, and he would be of interest in a high-class handicap now off that mark.
Warwick, 16th January 2021