Horses To Follow » Ballybolley


Ballybolley put up a really impressive performance to land the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase at Haydock on Saturday.

Always prominent, the Kayf Tara gelding took up the running after they had jumped the sixth fence, and he never relinquished it. He jumped superbly for Daryl Jacob down the back straight, accurate at every fence, turned for home still taking a tug as, one by one, his rivals came off the bridle behind him, and he eased clear from the top of the home straight. Jacob only had to give him a little squeeze, and he put distance between himself and his rivals. He was in a little tight to the second last fence, but that was really his only semi-flaw in a seriously impressive performance. Jacob sat up on him on the run-in, and he still came home eight lengths clear of his closest pursuer Five In A Row and clocked a really good time.

There was an awful lot to like about this performance. His jumping was really fluent and accurate, he seemed to meet just about every fence in his stride, and there was no point in the race at which you thought that he wouldn’t win. Strong in the market beforehand, he beat his rivals easily and he clocked a good time despite being eased down through the last 200 yards, just 0.09secs/furlong slower than Racing Post par, the fastest comparative time on the day by some way.

This was Ballybolley’s first win over fences, but he progressed with each of his chases, putting up his best performance before Saturday on his previous run at Kempton the previous Saturday, when he would have got closer to the winner Portway Flyer had he not made a bad mistake at the third last fence. He should be able to build on this now, he should be able to continue to progress. He was a good hurdler, and he is only just getting up to that level now over fences.

The handicapper raised him 13lb for Saturday’s win, which is significant, but it just brings him up to a mark of just 143, which is just 5lb higher than his peak over hurdles. It should still be within range. Still only seven, this was just his seventh run over fences, so he still has lots of potential for further progression. He bounces off this good ground, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next this spring.

26th March 2016