Horses To Follow » Early Doors

Early Doors

Early Doors did well to get as close as he got in the Irish Grand National, coming from the rear in a race in which the pace held up well. Held up early on by JJ Slevin, Joseph O’Brien’s horse was still no better than 17th or 18th as they raced across the top of the track with six fences to jump. A mistake at the fifth last fence didn’t help, he came under a ride after that and he was still only 12th as they raced to the home turn. He stayed on gamely from there though over the last three fences, despite pecking slightly on landing over the second last. He kept going all the way to the line, just getting up for fifth place on the far side close home, beaten a total of seven and a half lengths.

It was a mighty effort from JP McManus’ horse from the rear. They didn’t go a great pace, and it was difficult for the hold-up horses to get into it. The winner and the runner-up, Lord Lariat and Frontal Assault, occupied the first two positions for most of the race, while the third horse Gaillard Du Mesnil was never too far off the pace. Early Doors is nine years old, but he has raced just seven times over fences, and there still could be more to come from him on this evidence. Winner of the Martin Pipe Hurdle in 2019 off a mark of 145 and winner of the Galway Plate in 2020 off a mark of 139, he proved here that a mark of 148 is more than workable. He obviously stays well, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the Galway Plate was on his radar again this year. Looking further ahead, he would be a candidate for all the top staying handicap chases next season, and the Aintree Grand National would be a legitimate long-term target.
Fairyhouse, 18th April 2022