Horses To Follow » Solness


Solness was impressive in winning the two-mile-one-furlong handicap chase at Fairyhouse on Saturday. The pace that Whiskeywealth set was fast, and Solness was no better than mid-division early on, but he was into his racing and jumping rhythm early for Conor Stone-Walsh. He closed on the leaders on the run across the top of the track and, while he got in tight to both the fourth last and third last fences, he made good ground on the outside in the home straight, hit the front between the last two fences and kept on strongly to win well in a fast time, 0.07secs/furlong faster than Racing Post par and the fastest comparative time of the day by some way.

Quick note on the jockey. Conor Stone-Walsh was one of the leading apprentices on the flat during the summer, and he was riding in just his second race over obstacles here, his first over fences. He won on his first ride over hurdles too, he won a maiden hurdle at Cork last Sunday on Dgalwaygallivantor, and now he has won on his first ride over fences too. He gave Solness a lovely ride here too, he is big value for his 5lb claim. Solness is only five, and this was just his seventh chase. Joseph O’Brien’s horse won two of his first five chases and he finished second behind Hercule Du Seuil (twice) and Saldier (once) in his first three defeats. He could only finish fifth behind Letsbeclearaboutit in a Grade 3 contest at Cork in early November, but that was over two and a half miles, the trip obviously stretched his stamina, and he travelled well to the third last fence. He was much happier here back over an extended two miles. This type of test obviously suits him well, fast pace and a good test over the minimum trip.

The handicapper raised him by 9lb for this to a mark of 147, but he is only five and this was just his seventh run over fences. He has the potential to continue his progression now. The Dan & Joan Moore Chase, back over this course and distance next month, would be a good target for him now, and he could be a horse for the good handicap chases in the spring, the Grand Annual and/or the Red Rum Chase.

Fairyhouse, 1st December 2023