Donn McClean's Horses To Follow: July 20th to July 27th

By Donn McClean
 |  5 mins
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Donn McClean's Horses To Follow: July 20th to July 27th

Before we dive in, some basic rules for a horses to follow list is to keep them in a tracker and on your radar for the next three runs, bearing in mind ideal conditions across variables like venue, ground, opposition and price are satisfactory to you as a punter. This column should help you build up a list that proves profitable under those circumstances, provides timely reminders to reduce repeated form study and assist with your enjoyment of a season be it National Hunt or Flat racing in the UK and Ireland and sometimes beyond.

If you want to see previous editions check out Donn McClean's library of past horses to follow here.

Ano Syra - Naas, 20th July 2022

Ano Syra did well to finish fourth behind Pirate Jenny in the Listed Yeomanstown Stud Stakes at Naas last Wednesday. Drawn 11 of 14, effectively 10 of 11, she missed the break a little, but she was quickly up on the near side, not far off the pace on the far side. She came under a ride at the two-furlong marker, but she picked up well before her run flattened out a little through the final furlong.

John Feane's filly has made remarkable strides this season, winning four of her previous five races, including the Rockingham Handicap at The Curragh on Irish Derby weekend, only the second three-year-old to win the race in the last decade, and improving from a rating of 73 to a rating of 97. The belief may be that her rate of improvement has levelled off now on the back of this run, but she did well to get as close as she did, racing from her high draw.  It was an evening on which, low numbers were favoured, and the first three home in this race were drawn, respectively, one, two and five. Pirate Jenny made all the running from stall one. It may be, also, that this stiff six furlongs just stretched Ano Syra. She holds an entry in the Group 3 Phoenix Sprint Stakes at The Curragh on Saturday and, at a track at which she is two for two, she could be an interesting outsider if she lined up in that.

Zoinnocent - Leopardstown, 21st July 2022

Zoinnocent made good progress fro the rear to take second place behind Never Ending Story in the Group 3 Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown last Thursday. Weak in the market beforehand, she was last of the six runners early on and into the home straight but, wheeled to the outside by Shane Crosse, she picked up well and she finished off her race strongly on the near side. She was still actually sixth of the six runners passing the furlong pole, but she had momentum up at that stage and she was strong through the final furlong, getting to within a half a length of the winner by the time they got to the winning line.

This was another step forward from Joseph O'Brien's filly on just her third run. She had shaped encouragingly on her racecourse debut at The Curragh on Irish Guineas weekend in a maiden that has since worked out well, and she followed up by running out an impressive winner of her maiden at Gowran Park over seven furlongs on her next run. A sister to Gallinule Stakes winner Hannibal Barca, she should get further than this seven-furlong trip in time, her racing style suggests that she will too. She could be a middle-distance filly for next season. She holds entries in all the obvious races, the Debutante and the Moyglare, as well as in the Futurity Stakes and in the big sales race at Doncaster's St Leger meeting. She will be of interest wherever she goes next, and she will be of particular interest when she steps up in trip.

Hellsing - Leopardstown, 21st July 2022

Hellsing put up a good performance to finish second to Proud And Regal in the Group 3 Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown last Thursday. Third of the five runners early on and along the inside, he travelled well for Colin Keane into the home straight. He came under a ride when Proud And Regal quickened from the front, and it took him a couple of strides to engage top gear, but he kept on strongly through the final furlong to take second place in front of Age Of Kings, just a length behind the winner.

The winner is a progressive horse, already Donnacha O'Brien's horse is as short as 20/1 for next year's Derby, but Hellsing did well to get as close to him as he did. Ger Lyons' horse was racing for just the second time here too, he did well to win his maiden on his racecourse debut at The Curragh on Irish Guineas weekend, and this was a nice step forward from that. He should improve again from this, just his second run, and he could improve again for a stiffer test. He holds an entry in the Listed Churchill Stakes at Tipperary on Friday over seven and a half furlongs, and that would be a good target for him now.

Breege - Ascot, 23rd July 2022

Breege kept on well to take third place in the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot last Saturday. Weak in the market beforehand, she was held up early on by Jason Hart. She was a little out-paced when they quickened on the run to the furlong pole, but she stayed on well through the final 150 yards, just getting up to take third place in front of Minnetonka, behind Lezoo and Kinta.

John Quinn's filly won her maiden on her racecourse debut at Wetherby over five and a half furlongs, but she finished off her race strongly here over this stiff six, after getting a little out-paced, and, a half-sister to Illuminated, who has won over nine and a half furlongs, she could do better now stepped up in trip. This was just her third run too, her first since May, so she should progress from it. She will be of interest wherever she goes next, ideally stepped up to seven furlongs.

Ghathanfar - York, 23rd July 2022

Ghathanfar did well to finish fourth behind Gale Force Maya in the Sky Bet Dash at York last Saturday from his high draw. Prominent from early on the near side, he probably just about led overall as they passed the three-furlong marker, but the big players arrived on the far side, Gale Force Maya and Lucky Man. He dropped back to fourth or fifth as they raced to the furlong marker, but he stayed on well through the final 200 yards to take third place in front of Hyperfocus, who also raced towards the near side, just a half a length behind the winner.

Tracy Waggott's horse is not obviously unexposed, he is six and this was his 48th run, but his last four runs have been up there with the best of his career. Also, this was his second run in cheekpieces, he won at York in July in first-time cheekpieces, his record in any type of headgear now reads 213, and there could be more to come from him now. It was a day on which it looked like you wanted to be drawn low, Gale Force Maya emerged from stall six, and the Jump Jockeys' Nunthorpe that went before was dominated by the low numbers. The first six home were drawn, respectively, six, nine, one, seven, eight and three of 20, and they were returned at odds of 25/1, 16/1, 28/1, 9/1, 40/1 and 22/1. Ghathanfar holds an entry in the Shergar Cup Dash at Ascot on Saturday, and he will be of interest if he lines up in that, especially if he wears his cheekpieces. Also, his record at York now reads 36213, so he will be of interest when he goes back to the Knavesmire.

Donn McClean, for many, is the face of horse racing in Ireland. He is the chief horse racing writer for The Irish Sunday Times and appears regularly on RTE's horse racing coverage as well as Racing TV. An accomplished author, Donn recently added Champion, written with the late Pat Smullen, to his list of horse racing books. You'll find Donn's musings across the world of Horse Racing here at

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