Horses To Follow » Banbridge


Banbridge battled on strongly to win the two-mile rated novices’ hurdle that opened proceedings at Navan last Saturday. Settled in the middle of the seven-runner field early on by JJ Slevin behind a steady pace, he moved up on the outside close to the leaders as they raced to the end of the back straight. Squeezed along on the run to the third last flight, he came under a ride on the approach to the second last, but he responded well for pressure. He moved into second place on the run to the last, and he stayed on strongly up the run-in to catch Ardla, going on to win by over two lengths in the end from Au Fleuron, who kept on well too for second.

It was a good performance by Joseph O’Brien’s horse, racing over a trip that is probably short of his best, and not helped by the sedate early pace. He was under pressure from a fair way out, but he showed a really willing attitude in battling up the hill, going on to win nicely in the end. Winner of his maiden hurdle over two miles last May, and winner a novices’ hurdle over two miles and five furlongs on soft ground at Roscommon in July, nothing went right for him on his comeback run in a two-mile novices’ handicap hurdle at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival, and it appears that there is plenty of scope for progression from him now when he moves back up in trip. The handicapper raised him by 5lb to a mark of 133, but he is only six and he has raced just five times over hurdles, and there is room for improvement in his jumping, so he has the potential to go beyond that mark, especially when he moved back up in trip.
Navan, 22nd January 2022