Horses To Follow » Forpadydeplasterer


Forpadydeplasterer lost no caste in finishing second to Twist Magic in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on Saturday. AP McCoy was obviously keen to get a lead from something from early, when the tape went up, he and Ruby Walsh on Twist Magic stood still for a second before Ruby moved off and sent Twist Magic into a clear lead. As a backed of Forpadydeplasterer, I was actually hoping that McCoy would be the one to lead, make use of the horse’s fluent jumping over the seven fences down the back straight. Ultimately, the lead that Ruby poached may not have made the difference between winning and losing, he won by a lot more than the lead he had going over the first fence, but it certainly didn’t hinder Twist Magic’s chances. Both he and Forpady jumped really well down the back straight as Big Zeb floundered at a couple of his fences. Leaving the back straight, the race had developed into a straight match between the front two, but AP had four lengths to make up from that point, and that isn’t an easy task at Sandown when the leader isn’t stopping. In fairness to Twist Magic, he kept on well over the last two fences, and actually went further clear of Forpadydeplasterer as that rival tired, but the runner-up was the one to take out of the race for me in the context of the Champion Chase.

We know that Twist Magic loves Sandown. He has now run there four times over fences, he has won two Tingle Creeks and a Celebration Chase, and he has fallen at the second last when giving a peak-form Master Minded something to think about. You can be sure that he would have been trained to the minute for this by Paul Nicholls. This was probably his main objective this season. By contrast, Tom Cooper is certain to have had a longer-term game in mind for Forpadydeplasterer. Of course he was fit on Saturday, but Cheltenham has to have been his primary objective from the start of the season, not Sandown. He did appear to tire on the run-in, which was unusual for a horse who has won a Deloitte Hurdle over two and a quarter miles, and who was only just beaten in a Dr PJ Moriarty Chase over an extended two and a half.

Cooper was worried about soft ground beforehand, and they did have 4mm of rain overnight, so the ground was probably softer than ideal, certainly it was softer than it was at Cheltenham last March when he won the Arkle. Also, it may be that the son of Moscow Society is better going left-handed than he is going right. It may be just down to happenstance, but the most impressive performances of his career have been at Cheltenham and Leopardstown, both left-handed tracks, and he seemed reluctant to race hard against the rail racing right-handed out of the back straight on Saturday. Whatever about the left-handed thing, we know that Forpadydeplasterer loves Cheltenham, and we know that he thrives on Cheltenham Festival conditions. His performance in winning the Arkle last season was top class. He travelled supremely well through the race, his jumping was accurate, he quickened nicely and he stayed on really well up the hill. We know that he will be even better on the better ground that he will probably get at Cheltenham, and he is a real player in the Champion Chase at this stage. In a division that has been weakened significantly of late with defeats for Master Minded, Well Chief and Bog Zeb, 10/1 about the up-and-coming Forpadydeplasterer for the race is generous.

5th December 2009