Horses To Follow » Saint Sam

Saint Sam

Saint Sam ran out an impressive winner of the two-and-a-half-mile hurdle at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve. Sent to the front from flagfall by Paul Townend, the Saint Des Saints gelding was a little keen early on, as he usually is, and he made a mistake at the fourth and fifth flights, but, apart from that, his jumping was very good. He kept on well all the way to the line, he had over six lengths in hand of Any Second Now and Run For Oscar by the time he got to the winning line, and the winning time was good.

This was Saint Sam’s seasonal return, his first run since last April and his first run over hurdles since he finished fifth in the Grade 1 Champion Four-Year-Olds’ Hurdle at the 2021 Punchestown Festival. Also, it was his first run over a distance in excess of two miles and a furlong, and he saw it out well. A high-class two-mile novice chaser last season, it is interesting that his trainer Willie Mullins spoke afterwards about potentially keeping him over hurdles now and possibly stepping him up again in trip. He could morph into an interesting candidate for the Stayers’ Hurdle now if he did step up in trip, in a division that is wide open at present. He has only just turned six – eight of the last nine Stayers’ Hurdle winners were six or seven – he should progress from this and, on his only completed run at Cheltenham, he finished second in the 2021 Fred Winter Hurdle.
Fairyhouse, 31st December 2022