Horses To Follow » Cantlow


Cantlow took the eye with the way he travelled through the Grade 2 John Smith’s Hurdle over three miles and a furlong at Wetherby on Saturday, he moved really strongly for much of the race, still seemingly going well as they turned into the home straight. He just couldn’t pick up though as Restless Harry galloped all the way to the line, and he wasn’t subjected to a hard time of things by Dominic Elsworth when it was apparent that his winning chance had gone after the third last flight. He’s a thick-set horse though, he has reportedly strengthened up over the summer and he probably just needed the run, he should come on a good deal for it.

Cantlow was kept wide of the others for much of the contest. His jumping was slick at times, although there is still some room for improvement in that department, but that is no surprise, this was just his fourth ever run over hurdles, his first out of novice company, and just his fifth lifetime start having finished second in his only point to point at Lingstown. He moved much better for most of the race than good horses like What A Friend, Carlito Brigante and Ashkazar, and his inexperience makes this run all the more noteworthy.

Paul Webber’s gelding also belied his inexperience to run a huge race in the Grade 1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree last season, running on to finish second to Saint Are having not had the clearest of trips. That run marks him down as one of the better staying novices of last season, and his mark of 139, left unchanged after Saturday, does look rather appealing now. Webber reports that his next run could come in a handicap hurdle, possibly at Cheltenham at either of the November or the December meeting, and he will warrant close scrutiny there. Longer term, he should make up into a chaser, but he could go quite a long way over hurdles before then. It is worth remembering that Time For Rupert, also trained by Webber, and who also made a pleasing return to action at Wetherby on Saturday, was not thought good enough to run in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree as a novice, he ran in, and won, a handicap hurdle at the meeting instead, the year before he progressed through the staying hurdling ranks (starting off with a win in a handicap hurdle at Cheltenham in December) to finish second to Big Buck’s in the World Hurdle. It is not impossible that Cantlow will progress in a similar manner, and he could be worth following closely this year.

29th October 2011