Horses To Follow » Zenta


Zenta ran a big race in the big two-mile handicap hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday. Weak in the market beforehand, she was held up early on by Jody McGarvey, but she travelled well into her race from the rear, she moved up nicely on the outside on the run around the home turn, and she looked the likely winner when she hit the front on the run to the final flight. She was passed by Magical Zoe on the far side, and the evergreen Lord Erskine ran them both down on the run-in, but she still kept on to retain third place, only just run out of the runner-up spot.

Willie Mullins’ mare was a talented juvenile hurdler last season. She didn’t make her debut for Willie Mullins until February last year, when she won the Grade 3 Winning Fair juvenile hurdle at Fairyhouse, and she went straight from there to the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham, where she ran a massive race to finish third in the Triumph Hurdle. Then she went to Aintree and won the Grade 1 juvenile hurdle at the Grand National meeting. She made her chasing debut in the Grade 2 mares’ chase on Hilly Way Chase day at Cork, but she wasn’t overly fluent at her fences, so it was interesting that connections went back over hurdles here. She is only five, and this was just her fifth run over hurdles, so there could be more to come. She will be of interest in another high-class handicap hurdle now. The County Hurdle could be an interesting project for a mare who ran so well in the Triumph Hurdle last year on her only run to date at Cheltenham.

Leopardstown, 4th February 2024