Horses To Follow » Quirke’s Gate

Quirke’s Gate

Quirke’s Gate stayed on well to finish second behind Hunter’s Yarn in the two-mile maiden hurdle at Naas on Sunday. The winner was sent off the long odds-on favourite, and he led from flagfall, with the leading group of five clear from early in a well stretched-out field. Quirke’s Gate was fifth of the leading quintet, about eight lengths behind the leader as they started off down the back straight. He moved into fourth before they left the back straight, he was third over the second last and he stayed on well up the run-in for Michael O’Sullivan, despite making a mistake at the final flight, to get up for second place in front of Tophill Low.

This was an encouraging return to action by Barry Connell’s horse. Sixth in a maiden hurdle behind Grangee on his racecourse debut last season, and sixth in a bumper at Naas next time, this was his first race in over 12 months, and he was relatively strong in the market beforehand. A half-brother to Dash Of Blue, whose two wins were gained over two and a half miles, he shaped here as if a step up in trip would not be a negative. He will be of interest now in another maiden hurdle for a trainer who is going great guns this season, and who appears to have a particularly nice group of novice hurdlers.
Naas, 8th January 2023