Horses To Follow » Welsh Shadow
Welsh Shadow ran a big race to finish second to Garde La Victoire in the Welsh Champion Hurdle through the driving rain at Ffos Las on Saturday. In receipt of just 8lb from last season’s JLT Chase favourite, the Dan Skelton-trained gelding travelled well into the race. He moved up on the outside of Hassle with Garde La Victoire as they rounded the home turn, and the pair of them effectively had it between them from there. Welsh Shadow appeared to be travelling better at the third last flight, but he came under pressure shortly thereafter. A mistake by Philip Hobbs’ horse at the second last flight afforded Welsh Shadow another chance, and he rallied gamely on the run to the last. He closed on the leader all the way to the line and, while he just couldn’t get past him, he did get to within two lengths of him. The pair of them pulled 11 lengths clear of the third-placed Curious Carlos, and the winner clocked a really good time, 0.11secs/furlong faster than Racing Post par.
Welsh Shadow is only six and this was his seasonal debut and just his seventh run over hurdles, so he has lots of scope for progression. Fifth behind Yorkhill and Yanworth in the Neptune Hurdle at Cheltenham last March, this race was probably his target for a while, given that the race is sponsored by his owner and Ffos Las supremo Dai Walters, but he still should progress from it. He goes well on soft ground and will be an interesting horse to follow this season. The handicapper left him on his mark of 140, which is more than fair. There could be a valuable handicap hurdle in him off that mark now.
15th October 2016