Donn McClean's Horses To Follow: September 17th to 24th

By Donn McClean
 |  6 mins
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Donn McClean's Horses To Follow: September 17th to 24th

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.

Bay Of Plenty - Naas, 15th September 2022

Bay Of Plenty was a game winner of the juveniles' six-furlong maiden at Naas on Thursday, and he ran out an impressive winner in the end. Nicely supported beforehand, Johnny Murtagh's newcomer travelled well for Ben Coen just behind the pace towards the near side.  He went for a gap between Mount Ruapehu and The Snapper towards the near side at the two-furlong marker, but that gap closed quite quickly.  Ben Coen had to check his horse and ask him to pick up again but, switched towards the stands rail, he re-gathered his momentum quite quickly, hit the front inside the final furlong and, although moving to his left close home, he continued to go forward, going on to win by over a length in the end.

It was a brave performance by Johnny Murtagh's horse. Bought for 75,000 guineas at the Goffs Sportsman Sale last October, he is a half-brother to five winners, including Glesga Girl, a 97-rated filly whose two wins were gained over seven furlongs. The New Bay gelding showed a smart turn of foot here, but he went to the line so strongly, having picked up again, that he should be well able for seven furlongs, and possibly a mile.  He will be of interest wherever he goes now.

Arctic Blaze - Dundalk, 16th September 2022

Arctic Blaze did well to keep on as well as she did to take third place in the 12-furlong apprentices' handicap at Dundalk last Friday night.  John McConnell's mare had made just about all the running when she won at Tipperary on her previous run, and Siobhan Rutledge set out to adopt similar tactics on Friday.  Smartly away from her outside draw, she moved across on the run up the home straight first time, and got to the front ahead of fellow front-runner Effernock Fizz. She was a little keen in front, she was probably doing just a little more than her rider wanted her to do, but she still travelled well into the home straight, with her rivals all stretched out behind her.  She looked a likely winner too when she kicked into a three-length lead at the two-furlong marker, but her early exertions just caught up with her late on, and she was run down inside the final furlong by Cozone and the well-backed winner Joupe.

This was a race in which the hold-up horses came to the fore. The winner and the runner-up were both held up, and Arctic Blaze was the only horse who finished in the first five who was better than midfield early on.  John McConnell's mare has raced 28 times, she is not obviously unexposed, but she is in the form of her life now, her last two runs have been up there with the best of her career, and she proved here that she was well able for this mark of 66.  She holds an entry in a 12-furlong handicap at Bellewstown on Wednesday, and she will be of interest if she lines up in that, at a track that should suit her forward-going style of racing.

Jump The Gun - Ayr, 17th September 2022

Jump The Gun can be marked up at least a little on the bare form of the performance that he put up in finishing fifth in the Ayr Silver Cup last Saturday.  Racing on the near side early on from his high draw, Iain Jardine's horse was a little keener than ideal initially behind the leaders. He travelled well to the two-furlong marker though, as rider Paul Mulrennan waited and hoped for the gap to appear beside the stands rail.  Unfortunately the gap didn't appear though, he had to move to his left in order to try to secure a path. He had lots of ground to make up as they passed the furlong marker as Dusky Lord skipped clear and, while it never really looked like he would get there, he finished off his race strongly towards the near side to finish fifth.

As well as the fact that he didn't enjoy a clear passage through the race, Jump The Gun raced on the near side in a race in which the far side dominated.  He did best of the high-drawn horses, from his draw in stall 25, with the other five horses who, with him, filled the first six places drawn 13 or lower.  He is set to run in a seven-furlong handicap at Ayr on Tuesday, and he will be of interest there, over a trip that probably suits him even better than the six-furlong trip of the Silver Cup.  We know that he goes well at Ayr too.  As well as his big run in the Silver Cup, he won there in August over Tuesday's course and distance.

Have Secret - Ayr, 17th September 2022

Have Secret did well to finish third in the one-mile nursery at Ayr on Saturday.  Held up at the rear of the field early on, he travelled well for Oisin Orr down the back straight, but he had to be niggled along a little to hold his inside position as they rounded the home turn.  He appeared to get a little out-paced on the run to the two-furlong marker, but he picked up on the run to the furlong pole, and he stayed on well through the final furlong to take third place behind Metal Merchant.  In two more strides he would have been second.

t was a fine run by Richard Fahey's horse.  He had won over seven furlongs at Haydock on his previous run off an 8lb lower mark, but he proved here that he could operate under this mark of 79, and he stayed the trip well.  He probably improved for it and, out of a mare who won over an extended 10 furlongs, he left the impression that he could do even better over further.  He handles easy ground well too, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next.

Redarna - Ayr, 17th September 2022

Redarna ran better than suggested by his finishing position in fourth place in the one-mile handicap that opened proceedings at Ayr last Saturday.  Dropped in towards the rear early on by James Sullivan, he was a little keener than ideal along the inside behind a moderate pace.  Still keen as they raced around the home turn, he came under a ride as they raced inside the two-furlong marker, but he was always in traffic towards the far side. He was never really getting there, and it all got a little tight for him inside the final 100 yards, but he still kept on all the way to the line to finish within a length and a quarter of the winner Gweedore.

It was a race in which the early pace held up well.  The five horses who occupied the first five places from early finished in the first six places.  Redarna was the only horse who was able to get in among them from further back. Dianne Sayer's horse does go particularly well at Ayr - in 10 runs there before Saturday, he had won seven times - but he can operate at other tracks as well, as he proved when he won the Thirsk Hunt Cup in April and when he finished second in the Shergar Cup Mile at Ascot in August.  The handicapper left him on his mark of 94 after Saturday's race, and that was fair. He will be of interest off that mark now, and we know that he can operate on easy ground.

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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