It was a fairly mediocre week on the chasing front but a few horses caught the eye…
My Milan (7YO/Sandy Thomson)
This unexposed chaser was having just his third start over fences at Carlisle when fancied in a few places – sadly for his supporters he made a couple of bad errors, one of which in effect ended his race- he seemed to lose his undercarriage on landing dropping him right to the back – he was never really going a yard after that. In effect a line can be put through this run. I wasn’t sure he’d shaped as if 3m was his trip as yet and I wouldn’t mind seeing him given an aggressive ride over shorter. He was outstayed at Kelso over 23.5f when the last couple of fences were omitted – making it even more of a stamina test – and the jury is out as a slogger, for now – although Sandy clearly thinks he will stay. As yet his form doesn’t stack up to much but he should have more northern handicap chases in him when the mud is flying.
Imperial Nemesis (7YO/Nigel Twiston-Davies)
This horse is no world beater (a mark in the low 100s) but on this evidence there’s more to come over fences. Here he ran a decent 2nd in a handicap chase at Doncaster over 3m on decent ground – he was unable to hold a prominent position and threw in the odd novicey jump which didn’t help either. The winner, also unexposed, did do this well (Minella Examina, who drifted from 5/2>15/2 the bugger, but has more make-all victories in him) but Twister’s was finishing with a rattle and was doing his best work late. Maybe he appreciated the better ground but could just be improving with experiencing also. He did run here as if he’d get 26f no problem, and/or may appreciate a stiffer track. He chased the right horse home (in form/unexposed also). I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried some headgear either to make him travel more kindly near the front end, but we shall see. On this evidence he clearly has moderate handicap chases in him when it all clicks and he could be the sort to climb through the ranks into a 120s/30s animal.
Mont Des Avaloirs (7YO/P Nicholls)
Another unexposed chaser who ran in a Novice Handicap Chase at Newbury, over nearly 3m. Like many Johnny De La Hey horses he seems to tank through his races (occasionally over-racing) and doesn’t like being in front too long! (so many of his have a similar profile/style – strange really – maybe uses the same agents|vendors|likes certain blood lines) Given this ones hurdles form he’s clearly talented (take a look and you’ll see what I mean) and he looks sure to make into an even better chaser when it all clicks. He tanked through this race, doing too much really, and pulling himself to the front a long way out – much sooner than Cobden will have wanted. He was eventually overhauled up the straight – they clearly thinks he stays 3m but will need to settle better – he may want a much stronger pace and given his nature they tend to be patient with him (he’s probably more an EW prospect and will always need some luck if they continue to ride him cold/until he drops his head) I could see him in a big field/fast run chase over 2m4/5f, possibly sticking to flatter tracks, and it will be interested to see where they go next. But he moved through this as if he’s got plenty in hand and will be winning chases when it clicks.
Elsewhere… not eye-catchers as such given the two below bolted up on their last starts, but more notes for future reference…
Legal Eyes – this one jumped superbly when bolting up at Kempton, given an aggressive ride from the front. If he repeats/builds on this performances (which given his lightly raced chase profile he should do) he should be hard to beat again. It’s good to know he can bowl along on the front and jump well. Ben Pauling’s form was still a bit iffy before this and it will be interesting if/when they do start flourishing again. This flat track and decent ground clearly suited well, on his first start after a wind-op.
Echo Watt – i’m not sure he will be quite as good as his stablemate Lord Du Mesnil but I just wanted to note how easily he won his last race at Uttoxeter (his 2nd chase start). Like many of these french horses, especially from this yard, they seem to take a while to acclimatise/come to themselves. He will clearly make up into a much better chaser and he seemingly relished these very testing conditions. It’s always useful to note those horses that enjoy a swamp and he looks to be one. It will be interesting to see how high he can climb. (although he was winning this from a mark of 97!)
That’s all for this week,
Did anything catch your eye last week? (all-weather, hurdles, non handicaps all welcome…)