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18th Oct 2018

8 Irish P2P graduates to look out for this season

Lloyd Murphy

Faugheen, Samcro, Denman, War of Attrition, Florida Pearl, Best Mate and last year’s Gold Cup winner Native River.

The list of top-class Irish racehorses coming each year from the Irish P2P scene is nothing short of incredible. It is a constant conveyor belt of top notch National Hunt talent. Between October 2017 and May 2018, 1,236 races in Britain and Ireland were won by horses that began their careers in the Irish point-to-point fields – an all-time record.

Samcro, the horse on everyone’s lips last season cost a few quid (£335,000) but delivered when it mattered winning the Ballymore at the Cheltenham Festival last year. He will more than likely go chasing this year given his P2P background with the JLT Novices Chase his likely target. A tilt at the Cheltenham 2020 Gold Cup the following year is a future possibility. 

With the National Hunt season upon us, here are 8 Irish point-to-pointers to put into your notebooks and stick in your horse tracker.

1. Shadow Rider

Trainer: Willie Mullins

The Colin Bowe trained Shadow Rider is certainly a horse to keep an eye on this season. Starting at 11/4 in his maiden P2P at Knockanard this French-bred son of Martaline stormed home to beat odds-on favourite Full Time Score by six lengths. He always travelled well in the race at the Fermoy track showing a touch of class over the 12 fences. He gave backers one scare when the blundering at the fourth last but overtook longtime leader Eleazar Des Neiges before the last fence.

Bowe, who previously trained Samcro has now sold Shadow Rider on behalf of Walter Connors who previously owned Bacardys, Envoi Allen and Don Cossack. Willie Mullins has certainly gotten his hands on an exciting youngster.

2. Dlauro

Trainer: Joseph O’Brien

Image result for dlauro horse

The son of Lauro made a lasting impression when scoring under Jamie Codd at the beautiful Belharbour track last February winning by six lengths. Possessing a powerful stride he had the whole field strung out making all of the running showing a flawless fencing technique throughout. The winning distance was six lengths but he was eased down towards the line.

Going through the ring at the Cheltenham sale the final bid was landed by Lloyd Williams at £410,000 with Joseph O’Brien calling him “a very exciting horse for the future”. He held a few entries in bumpers at the end of last year at Punchestown but his first run under rules never materialised due to a temperature. Joseph may send Dlauro straight over hurdles.

3. Envoi Allen

Trainer: Gordon Elliott

Dubbed the next ‘Samcro’ in some circles, Envoi Allen is certainly an exciting prospect for the National Hunt season ahead. Another graduate of the mighty Colin Bowe, this son of Muhtathir travelled all over his rivals throughout his debut at Ballinboola scoring by 10 lengths. The third and fourth placed horses in this race also won their maidens so the form is strong.

Another purchased for huge money by Tom Malone on behalf of Cheveley Park Stud, the hammer finally came down at £400,000 at the Cheltenham sale. Gordon Elliott will train this classy French-bred and looks like he may have a future Grade 1 horse on his hands who possesses a serious turn of foot.

4. Malone Road

Trainer: Gordon Elliott

Image result for Malone road horse

This half-brother to Ravenhill Road made a striking impression winning his maiden at Loughanmore over 3m with a three and a half-length victory. The Kalanisi gelding wasn’t fluent over every one of his fences but in the latter part of the race, he battled back showing plenty of stamina under the bonnet. He jumped the last fence with ease with the front two pulling well clear of their rivals.

Malone Road headed straight to the Aintree sale selling to Tom Malone for £325,000. He will go into training with Gordon Elliott. The further he goes the better.

5. Asterion Forlonge

Trainer: Willie Mullins

A winner for Pat Doyle at Oldtown in February, the scopey grey travelled well in the race with a very patient ride by Derek O’Connor. He produced him at the final fence with an excellent leap, before quickening nicely to run out a six-length winner.

Asterion Forlonge was purchased by Harold Kirk at the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham sale and will go into training with Willie Mullins. A  son of Coastal Path, Willie knows the sire well with Bacardys and Dorrells Pierji both coming from Doyle’s yard. We will see the best of this youngster when he tackles the larger obstacles.

6. Feel My Pulse

Trainer: Gordon Elliott

Image result for feel my pulse horse p2p

Feel My Pulse was the joint top lot at the Cheltenham Festival sale alongside another exciting horse Andy Dufresne. Both sold for an eye-watering fee of £330,000. This Stowaway gelding is a half-brother to Myska and looks a hugely exciting prospect for Gordon Elliott this season.

Starting off in a four-year-old maiden in Lismore, he made all the running when putting his rivals under pressure early in the race. He stretched further and further clear in the race with a six-length lead coming to the last and powered right to the line. The form of the victory received a boost with the Gigginstownn owned Shot To Hell winning the following month in Dromahane.

7. Ask For Glory

Trainer: Paul Nicholls

Ask For Glory looks a proper staying chaser. Midleton handler Donal Coffey has had some smart types pass through his yard like Give Me A Copper but Ask For Glory could be his best graduate yet.

A four-year-old by Fame And Glory, he started slowly on his debut at Bartlemy. He soon picked up midway through the race running out a 10-length winner stretching away after jumping the final fence. He sold in May for £280,000 at the Goffs Doncaster sale and has joined the Paul Nicholls yard.

 8. Trevelyn’s Corn

Trainer: Paul Nicholls

Colin Bowe seems to have an endless production line of top-class prospects, and this son of Oscar is no different. He topped the sale at Cheltenham in December after making a winning debut at Borris House. Trevelyn’s Corn travelled powerfully through the race putting it to bed at the third-last.

He won with plenty in hand and was purchased by Tom Malone for the princely sum of £400,000. Paul Nicholls said he will be going novice hurdling over two and a half miles or two six. A chaser in the making. He could be a horse Nicholls swerves Cheltenham with and heads straight for Aintree.