Horses To Follow » Mobaasher


Mobaasher shaped nicely on his seasonal debut in the three-mile Class 2 handicap hurdle on Cheltenham’s New Year’s Day card. Held up in the rear early, some fluent jumping on his return to the smaller obstacles took him into midfield towards the end of the back straight, but the runners were all in a bunch due to a distinct lack of pace in the race. The slow early pace shouldn’t have suited, he couldn’t cope with the injection of pace by Junior and Chartreux at the top of the hill and was hard driven from some way out, but he did stay on nicely up the hill to finish a clear sixth of 17.

A bit below the best staying hurdlers a couple of seasons ago (he reached a high of 157 over hurdles), he was switched to Venetia Williams’s stable last season and sent novice chasing where he enjoyed a successful start, winning two of his first four over fences and finishing placed in the other two. This led to him being sent off favourite for the four-mile National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival where he ran creditably to finish fifth after a horse fell in front of him down the back straight just as the pace was increasing. Never going in the Scottish National on his next run, this return over hurdles was his first run since (and so his first for nearly eight months). He will be interesting now next time, probably over fences, where his mark has eased slightly to 137. He was very competitive in handicap hurdles three seasons ago off marks slightly higher than that (into the 140s) and having the build of a chaser, you would like to think he can be very competitive back over the fences now, although he is in a Pertemps Qualifier at Warwick on Saturday. That is interesting, it may be that he trainer has the Pertemps Final in mind as his Cheltenham Festival objective. Whatever his target, this run should have set him up nicely and Venetia Williams’s horses are just starting to run into some form.

1st January 2011