Horses To Follow » Helpston


There was enough about Helpston’s performance in a three-mile novice chase at Huntingdon to suggest he could make into a more than useful chaser, and he could be worth following from here. The Pam Sly-trained gelding was making his seasonal debut, he was racing for the first time in 312 days, and so it was understandable that he was bit keen here early on. He did settle once he got to the front at the fifth fence, he travelled well enough on the inside rail duelling for the lead with Alderluck, and his jumping was good. He is a big horse and he put in some big leaps in front for his rider David England. He did get a bit outpaced after they went past the stands and set out on their final circuit but another big leap at the third last brought him back into it and there was a lot to like about the way he found for pressure. He even looked a brief threat to Master Of The Hall in the straight, but he began to hang to the right and get tired, with his early exertions probably just starting to tell. He ended up getting mugged for second place on the line by staying-on-again Alderluck, the pair of them only six lengths behind the winner.

Beforehand this looked like a fairly hot five-runner novice chase, and although the pair who finished last and second last, Voramer Two and Othermix, were disappointing, the winner was good and the form looks good. Master Of The Hall was mentioned here after his win at Ascot two runs back, and although he disappointed when weak in the market for the Grade 2 Dipper Chase on his previous run, he was much better here and he remains a potentially very good recruit to fences.

This was a very promising run from Helpston behind him on his chasing debut. He jumped really well and he probably would have finished a lot closer had he been able to settle better early on. It was always likely that he was going to make a chaser, he is a big horse, a big chasing type and there is every chance that he will be a better horse over fences now than he was over hurdles. He was a fairly decent hurdler, he earned a rating of 130 and he produced a notable performance to finish third behind Time For Rupert in a decent novice hurdle at Huntingdon in February 2009. He has raced mostly on soft ground, but better ground probably shouldn’t inconvenience him. He will be interesting in a novice chase, or in a handicap, when he gets his handicap rating over fences. He is only seven, he is still lightly-raced, and he stays three miles well.

26th January 2011