Mick Halford expects Certerach to post an improved performance next time

Last Updated: 22/07/14 12:26pm

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Certerach: Better is expected next time

Certerach: Better is expected next time

Sky Bet

Mick Halford expects Certerach to post an improved performance next time after he failed to sparkle in the Challenge Stakes at Leopardstown last week.

The six-year-old, winner of the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan in March, could only manage sixth behind Pale Mimosa on the back of finishing a respectable second to Ernest Hemingway in the Curragh Cup.

Halford said: "I thought he was in the form of his life going into last Thursday's race, but it turned into a messy contest and I would say it's unfair to suggest he ran flat.

"He never settled throughout and I would be inclined to draw a line through it. We've got plenty of options with him and I'm confident he'll bounce back to form.

"He's in the Ballyroan and we also have him in the Irish St Leger. There is also the option of taking him to York for the Lonsdale Cup so we have plenty to think about."

Halford has some nice two-year-olds to go to war with this season and Portage created a favourable impression when finishing a running-on second to East India on his Curragh debut on Saturday.

In what is traditionally a red-hot maiden, won by Australia 12 months ago as well as New Approach and his sire Teofilo in the recent past, the Sheikh Mohammed-owned colt shaped with plenty of promise despite running green and breaking slowly from the stalls.

Halford said of the 70,000 guineas purchase: "He's a horse I really like and he could be very smart. I'm really looking forward to him as he's a big, scopey sort and that first run will have brought him on plenty.

"He wouldn't run against Toscanini, but he ran great considering he was green and we're all excited about him at home."

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