Donn McClean's Horses to Follow: May 12th - 20th

Welcome to Donn McClean's horses to follow column, where he looks back on the last week's racing and picks out some eye-catchers to take note of. Keep scrolling for this week's selections.

Donn McClean's Horses to Follow: May 12th - 20th

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.

Wobwobwob - York, May 12th

3yo Gelding, Adrian Keatley

Wobwobwob stepped forward again when he dropped back down in trip and landed the seven-furlong handicap at York on Wednesday. Fast away and handy from early, he travelled well for Tom Marquand up on the outside of leader Northern Express. About three parts of a length behind the leader at the three-furlong marker, he came under a ride from that point, but he found plenty for pressure. He joined Northern Express on the run to the furlong marker and, as Rifleman threw his chance away again by hanging to his left, he stayed on really strongly through the final furlong to win by four lengths from Northern Express, with another four lengths back to Rifleman in third.

This was a really likeable performance by Adrian Keatley's horse. Winner of a nursery over six furlongs at Thirsk last September off a mark of 62, he stepped forward from that on his final run last season when, stepped up to seven furlongs, he won a better nursery at Newmarket off a mark of 73. His two runs this season before Wednesday were good, but a mile on fast ground seemed to find him out at the Craven meeting at Newmarket on his previous run, when he faded close to home and finished third behind Bullace, a race from which the runner-up Crossford came out and won nicely since at the Guineas meeting off a 3lb higher mark.

Wobwobwob appeared to appreciate the drop back down to seven furlongs here, and the move to easier ground. He obviously stays this trip well, and he was ridden accordingly by Tom Marquand, the first time that he rode him in a race. The handicapper raised him by 8lb for this to a mark of 88, but he is progressive, and he should be able to go on again from this. He is entered in the Silver Bowl at Haydock on Saturday, and he will be of interest if he lines up in that, especially if the ground comes up on the soft side. Looking further ahead, there is a seven-furlong handicap at Epsom on Derby weekend, and there is a three-year-olds' handicap at Sandown the following week. Those two tracks should suit his forward-going style of racing.

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Count D'Orsay - York, May 13th

5yo Gelding, Tim Easterby

Count D'Orsay is worthy of another chance after he finished only 15th of the 17 runners in the five-furlong handicap at York on Thursday. He was well away and he travelled well towards the near side in the front rank down to the three-furlong marker. He just didn't pick up at that point however, and he got squeezed out of it on the run to the two-furlong marker, after which David Allan was not hard on him. He was well beaten in the end, but this was not his running, in a race that came up just a week after he had run really well in a similar contest at Chester.

He did well to finish second in that race at Chester, racing, as he did, from stall six of nine. An inside draw over five furlongs at Chester is obviously a significant advantage, and Jabbarockie bolted out of stall one that day and led all the way. By contrast, Count D'Orsay was dropped in early by David Allan from stall six. Seventh of the nine runners as they wheeled around the bend, he was a little keen as they raced past the three-furlong marker but he threaded his way through among horses and he finished off his race strongly to get up for second place in front of Copper Knight, just over a length behind the winner Jabbarockie.

That Chester race is a race in which, unsurprisingly, low numbers have historically dominated. The previous eight winners of the race emerged, respectively, from stalls two, three, four, four, three, one, one and four. And in this year's renewal, the other three horses who filled the first four places with Count D'Orsay raced from stalls one, three and four respectively. Tim Easterby's horse did well to get as close as he did. He got a lot closer to Jabbarockie at Chester than he did at Musselburgh on his seasonal return, when he finished 11th, 15 lengths behind Eric Alston's horse. His best runs have been at Haydock and Catterick, over five furlongs and on soft ground, so he will be of particular interest if and when he returns to either those two tracks.



Mondammej - York, May 13th

4yo Gelding, Antony Brittain

Mondommej did well to get as close as he did to the winner Copper Knight in that five-furlong handicap that opened proceedings at York on Thursday. He fly-jumped a little out of the stalls, with the result that he was well back in the field early on. Disputing second-last place after they had gone a furlong, Antony Britain's horse travelled up well through his race to the two-furlong marker. Rider Cam Hardie had to wait for the gaps to appear and, when Illusionist moved a little to his right at the two-furlong marker, Mondammej had the pace to get into the gap and to move up in behind the leaders Copper Knight and Jawwaal. Those two converged in front of him a little though on the run to the furlong marker, with the result that Mondammej had to ease off for a few strides. He got going again deep inside the final furlong, however, and he closed to within three parts of a length of the winner by the time they reached the winning line.

This was another step forward by the Lope De Vega gelding. He didn't make his racecourse debut until last November, when he won a six-furlong novice stakes at Newcastle, and all his runs were on all-weather until he went to Pontefract last month and won a five-furlong handicap off a mark of 79. Raised by 7lb for that, he missed the break and he was too keen next time at Chester, in the race that Jabbarockie won and in which Count D'Orsay finished second, and this run proved that he didn't give his true running at Chester. He is a progressive sprinter who could still be well-handicapped on a mark of 88, 2lb higher than his York mark, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next. A fast-run five furlongs seems to suit him well, ideally at a stiff track, but he could be worth another try over six.

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Fishable - York, May 14th

4yo Gelding, Tim Easterby

Fishable is worthy of another chance. He only finished 11th in the 10-and-a-half-furlong handicap at York on Friday, but you can just put a line through the run. He was rearing when the stalls opened, with the result that he lost about five lengths on the field at the start. He recovered the ground, and he actually travelled well into the home straight at the back of the field and along the inside. He started to make ground from the three-furlong marker, moving in behind the front rank on the run to the two, but a gap closed on him there as Khagan and Uzincso converged in front of him, and any hope he had of getting involved in the finish ended there. David Allan just allowed him come home in his own time after that.

Tim Easterby's horse remains a horse of interest. A dual winner last year at Ripon, his last two runs last season at York and Doncaster were good, and he started off well this season too by finishing fourth in a good handicap back at Ripon. He was keener than ideal that day, on his seasonal debut, but he still kept on well to go down by just over two lengths to Zabeel Champion, who has won twice since and is now rated 9lb higher than he was then. Fishable was nicely strong in the market before Friday's race, and he is deserving of another chance off this mark of 92. He will be of interest wherever he goes next, but he will be of particular interest if and when he races again at Ripon or back at York.


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Band Of Outlaws - Naas, May 16th

6yo Gelding, Joseph O'Brien

Band Of Outlaws ran really well on his comeback run to finish third behind Pepperoni Pete and Starting Monday in the one-mile handicap at Naas on Sunday. Settled back in the field early on by Wayne Lordan from his inside draw, he travelled well at the rear of the field, and he started to make nice ground from the three-furlong marker. He remained over towards the far side in the home straight as the leader Starting Monday came towards the stands side, as did ultimate winner Pepperoni Pete, but Joseph O'Brien's horse still stayed on well on the far side to get up for third place in front of Roca Roma, who also raced towards the near side until he started to hang to his left inside the final furlong. In the end, Band Of Outlaws was beaten a total of just over two lengths.

It was a really pleasing return to action by JP McManus' horse. This was his first run since he finished third behind Tudor City and Due Reward, when he was sent off as joint-favourite for the 2019 Galway Hurdle, and he hadn't run on the flat since he finished fourth behind Insignia Of Rank in a handicap at Tipperary as a three-year-old in October 2018. In the meantime, he has won three races over hurdles, including the Fred Winter Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, and he finished third in that Galway Hurdle and, on this evidence, he obviously retains lots of ability. The handicapper raised him by just 1lb for this run to a mark of 89, and that is a mark that could underestimate him considerably. He reached a peak rating of 94 on the flat, and he is rated 145 over hurdles so, if you take a 45lb differential between hurdles ratings and flat ratings as a broad barometer, that gives him lots of leeway. This one-mile trip looks like a good trip for him on the flat, a fast-run race suits him well, and he will be of interest in another good one-mile handicap on the flat now, ideally on ground that is not too fast.

The Colm Quinn BMW Mile at Galway could be a possible target for him now. A mark of 89 should see him get into the race on a nice racing weight, a race in which he stayed on well to finish eighth in 2018, beaten just over three lengths. In the meantime, the one-mile Premier Handicap on Irish Derby weekend at The Curragh, a race that he won as a three-year-old in 2018, would be a good target for him.


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