Horses To Follow » Raptor


Raptor put in a highly likeable performance to get off the mark over fences in a two-and-a-half-mile beginners’ chase at Punchestown on Saturday. He had to avoid a faller at the first fence and that seemed to unsettle him a little, he rather hurdled the second and third fences, but he jumped the fourth nicely and he really impressed with his jumping from then on. He was always up there, he picked up well from the second last and he kept on strongly to win nicely from the useful 11-year-old Cadogan, with a good break back to Byerley Bear in third, in a good time, the fastest comparative time on the card.

The grey gelding had won a good maiden hurdle at Punchestown last January on his debut for Willie Mullins, beating Westmeath, and Mullins was talking about the Albert Bartlett for him after that, but he didn’t make it to Cheltenham, and he didn’t run particularly well at Punchestown in a Grade 2 three-mile novice hurdle on his only other start last season. This was his second chase, his second run this season, and it was much better than his first when he was quite a long way behind Donnas Palm at Wexford. He clearly handles testing ground well, his Punchestown hurdles win was on soft ground, as was this, although the times indicate that the ground was riding even slower than that, and his slightly disappointing Punchestown Festival run over hurdles was on a sound surface.

He is only six, he jumped really well after the first three fences here, and he is another exciting Irish-trained staying novice chaser for the season ahead, especially through the winter when the ground is soft.

19th November 2011