Horses To Follow » Al Riffa

Al Riffa

Al Riffa put up an eye-catching performance in finishing second behind the impressive Hans Andersen in the seven-furlong maiden that opened proceedings at The Curragh on Saturday. Slowly away and well back in the field early on, he got out-paced when they quickened as they raced inside the three-furlong marker, at which point he dropped to third last. But he stayed on strongly for Dylan Browne McMonagle from two furlongs out, moving into fifth place at the furlong pole and keeping on strongly through the final 200 yards to finish a clear second.

This maiden has been a really good pointer to the future in the past, with MacSwiney, Australia, Teofilo and New Approach on the roll of honour, and Hans Andersen shaped really encouragingly on his racecourse debut at Tipperary, and could progress to be top class. Aidan O’Brien’s colt won with plenty in hand, but Al Riffa did well to stay on as well as he did to get to within two lengths of him.
Joseph O’Brien’s horse showed signs of inexperience, which was of course understandable, given that this was his racecourse debut, and he could improve significantly for this. His dam is a sister to high-class stayer Mizzou, and his great grandam is My Emma, who won the Yorkshire Oaks and the Prix Vermeille, so he is bred to progress as he steps up in trip, a hypothesis that is backed up by his performance here. He should be winning his maiden soon, and he could be a horse for the Vertem Futurity Trophy or the Criterium International later in the season.
The Curragh, 16th July 2022