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Sunday 29 December 2013

Pause for Thought

Some great racing over the last week at Kempton, Chepstow and Leopardstown.
At the latter I was not only impressed by The Tullow Tank but also by Seefood who finished 2nd in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle Qualifier and Home Farm who finished 5th in the Paddy Power Chase as well as others listed below.

The Tullow Tank came into the Grade 1 Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle having won his last three races and in the last of those he beat Mullins Arctic Fire into third in the Royal Bond. That rival lined up again here and Mullins had also drafted in the unbeaten Moyle Park presumably based on home work and you would have to think that these were the best they had to offer. Mullins had said pre race that the more testing the going the better for Moyle Park, whilst The Tullow Tank's trainer Philip Fenton had said that he had previously had in the back of his mind that his charge preferred going right handed and although he had worked on that he was still raising it as an issue. In the race however he had nothing to fear as The Tullow Tank dismantled Moyle Park and the rest of this decent field with little fuss and he joins Istabraq, Hurricane Fly and Jezki as dual winners of this and the Royal Bond and on that evidence he looks a horse capable of winning at one of the big festivals. It was also another feather in the cap for his sire Oscar.

Seefood trained by Dessie Hughes was prominent throughout in the Pertemps Qualifier under his weight of 11-3(OR134) and he was the only 1 in the first 7 to carry more than 10-6 with twenty one and a half lengths covering those seven. The time seemed good based on the other races on the card. He looks almost certain to run at Cheltenham on this evidence and he must have a good chance in whatever race he runs in over hurdles if he doesn't go up too much in the ratings in the meantime, he may even switch back to chasing. He is probably best on good ground. His trainer won the Pertemps final in 2005 with Oulart (OR121) having won the Paddy Power Handicap Hurdle at the Christmas meeting here.

Home Farm hails from the same family as Jodami. He had finished 3rd in last seasons Irish National after being hampered three fences from home on just his fourth chase start (10 career starts to date). That  run had followed his win in a Beginners Chase when beating White Star Line at levels who had previously been placed at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival (2nd behind Hunt Ball) and then 3rd behind Golden Chieftan JLT Speciality Hcap Chase at the 2013 Festival. The White Star Line has gone on to win the Kerry National beating Carlingford Lough off 130 in receipt of 17lb and Carlingford Lough beat Morning Assembly in the Grade 1 Novice Chase on Sunday at Leopardstown.
Home Farm started this season over an inadequate 2m and he was being aimed at the Stewart Family Gold Cup at Cheltenham earlier in the month, for which he was backed into 6/1 from 12s before being taken out because of a dirty scope.
At Leopardstown in the Paddy Power over 3m he ran on well from mid division to finish a closing 5th beaten 6 1/4 lengths under his top weight of 11-7 (OR 142) burden, jumping well throughout. The chances are he will probably have another go in the Irish National but I wouldn't rule out an entry at Aintree in the big one and we may now see him in a hurdle race next to protect his handicap mark. Taking last years Paddy Power Chase as a guide the winner Colbert Station (OR132) won in a time 11 seconds slower than this years event and he was sent off at 12/1 at Aintree. This year the time of the race compared favourably with the Grade 1 Lexus Chase won by Bobs Worth the following day being exactly five seconds slower having run half a furlong further so it is handicap form to follow.
Home Farms trainer Arthur Moore had Organisedconfusion in the 2012 National running off a mark of 145 which equated to 10-8, he had previously been Moore's second winner of the Irish National in 2011, Feathered Gale had won in 96.
As we know Arthur Moore is a trainer who can ready a horse for a big race and only having had 10 runs to date Home Farm has plenty of potential to improve even further on his current rating during the remainder of the season ahead and we must keep on the right side of him in which ever Handicap we see him in next when the going is no worse than soft.

In the concluding Bumper on Friday Gordon Elliott's No More Heroes pulverised the opposition and 3m chasing is his ultimate aim in which he should excel on this performance.

On the Saturday the concluding bumper was won by Dermot Weld's Silver Concorde in a decent time for the going of 4min 0.50secs with a welter burden of 12-0 and he looks to have a bright future. He had been off the track for 516 days and Weld said that he did what was expected of him, stating that he had been just a big weak horse and he had matured a lot. He further stated that he would prefer better ground as he is a nice actioned horse and that he would now go for a winners bumper. He had previously finished 3rd behind Jezki and Ned Buntline on his debut at the beginning of 2012 and then he ran a bit erratically when going right handed at Galway in July 2012 where he finished 2nd.

Another to note over the first 3 days was Gordon Elliott's Double Irish who showed improved form to win a Maiden Hurdle on the Friday, the turn of foot he showed between the last two flights being really impressive.

Roll on Sunday and the Ryanair Hurdle.