Horses To Follow » Clonmeen


Clonmeen stayed on well to win the two-mile-seven-and-a-half-furlong handicap chase at Punchestown on Sunday. He can’t have been suited by the sedate pace that Danny Mullins was allowed to set on King’s Halo, he got out-paced over the third last on the run to the home turn, but he stayed on well for Simon Torrens from the second last fence and just got up to win. His jumping was good, for all that he got in a little tight to the final fence, which was nearly his undoing, but he showed a great attitude to stay on as well as he did to just get up.

It was a fine performance by Willie Murphy’s horse, who continues to progress. He stayed on well to win a three-mile handicap chase at Down Royal’s big meeting in early November, and he coped with a 9lb hike for that here. He is obviously progressive, this was just his 10th chase. He was raised again by the handicapper for this, by 8lb to a mark of 122, but he remains progressive and he will be of interest again now wherever he goes. He jumps well and he stays well and he should do even better in a bigger field and with a stronger pace. His trainer mentioned the Grand National Trial back at Punchestown in February as a potential next target, and that makes lots of sense. The step up to three and a half miles should be fine, he stays well, the stronger pace that they should go in the higher grade should suit him well, and he is one for one at the track. And his new mark of 122 should see him get into the race right at the foot of the weights.

Punchestown, 31st December 2023