Horses To Follow » Our Kaempfer
Our Kaempfer put up a really impressive performance to win the three-mile handicap chase at Kempton on Saturday. Settled nicely out the back of the field through the early stages of the race, he just took his time and picked off his fences nicely. Sticking to the inside, he began to make progress through his field as they started out on their final circuit. His progress was gradual, but it was noticeable. He moved up on the inside of Sandy Beach at the far turn, moved nicely down the side of the track and, when Abricot De L’Oasis fell at the second last fence in the back straight, Charlie Longsdon’s horse moved easily in behind leader Kruzhlinin as they started to run around the home turn, and looked by far the most likely winner.
He oozed class, he eased his way up alongside the leader at the third last fence, moved to the front on the run to the last and, after a scary peck at the final fence, he came clear.
There was an awful lot to like about this performance from Our Kaempfer. He did have the run of the race, in that he was able to sit well off a good pace that was set by Kruzhlinin. That said, he could hardly have been more impressive visually in winning, and he clocked a good time, 0.10secs/furlong faster than Racing Post par and the joint-fastest comparative time of the day.
A talented hurdler, the Oscar gelding had not won in four previous attempts over fences. However, in the first three he had run well in defeat over two and a half miles, and on his previous run he unseated his rider early on in the Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby over Christmas, on his first attempt at three miles over fences.
Third to Thistlecrack in the Grade 1 Sefton Hurdle over three miles at Aintree as a novice hurdler, and second in a Pertemps Qualifier back at Aintree over three miles in November 2015, there was always the probability that Our Kaempfer would improve for stepping up to three miles over fences. It didn’t happen in the Rowland Meyrick, he didn’t get to complete, but it happened on Saturday. This was probably the best run of his life.
The handicapper has raised him 10lb to a mark of 148, but he deserved a decent hike, and he was racing off a mark of 138 on Saturday, 2lb lower than his hurdles mark. He always had the potential to go higher over fences than he did over hurdles.
He is still only eight and this was just his fifth chase, so he still has the potential to progress, especially over three miles over fences. He goes well at flat tracks, his best runs have been at Aintree and Market Rasen and Kempton, although he did run well at Chepstow on his debut over fences last October.
Specifically, he appears to like Kempton, he has now won once over hurdles and once over fences in two visits to the Sunbury track, so he will be of particular interest if and when he returns there. The BetBright Chase back there in late February could be a good target for him.
14th January 2017