Horses To Follow » Double Shuffle
Double Shuffle ran a cracker to finish second to Art Mauresque in the two-mile-three-and-a-half-furlong handicap chase at Chepstow on Sunday.
Settled nicely towards the inside and towards the rear of the eight-runner field by Adrian Heskin through the early stages of the race, he got shuffled back to last place as they turned at the top of the back straight. Moved towards the outside after that, he was a little keener than ideal over the first two fences in the back straight, and he got in really tight to the third. None of that helped, nor did a fairly significant error at the second last in the back straight. He was much better at the final fence on that part of the course, however, and he was able to latch onto the coat-tails of the leaders in fifth place as they left the back straight.
He came under pressure as they rounded the home turn, but he responded to that pressure. Fully 10 lengths behind the leader Splash Of Ginge over the fifth last fence, the first in the home straight, he started to stay on well from that point. Still eight lengths down jumping the last, he finished off his race really strongly to take second place from Voix D’Eau and to get to within a head of the winner Art Mauresque.
The narrow winning margin may have flattered Double Shuffle a little, Art Mauresque travelled much better through his race and he was probably idling on the run-in. That said, Double Shuffle did well to get past the useful Voix D’Eau, and the fact that he was so strong in the finish augurs well for the future. It was his seasonal debut, his first run since last April, he probably blew up on the home turn before getting his second wind at the third last fence. Also, this was a good race, Art Mauresque is a talented horse and the winning time was very good, 0.23secs/furlong faster than Racing Post par.
Tom George’s horse was a progressive novice chaser last season. Second to Art Mauresque at Cheltenham’s October meeting, he won at Ludlow in December, and then ran a cracker to finish third behind Ballyalton and Bouvreuil in the two-and-a-half-mile novices’ handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March. He raced off a mark of 138 that day, so he is still potentially well-handicapped now on a mark of 140. He is only six and he has raced just six times now over fences. He has lots of scope for progression now. He is good over two and a half miles, but he shapes as if he is well worth a try over three miles.
9th October 2016