Horses To Follow » Flying Angel
Flying Angel was impressive in winning the Grade 2 Kingmaker Chase at Warwick on Saturday. Never far behind the fast pace that Gino’s Trail set, Nigel Twiston-Davies’ horse was good over the five fences down the side of the track, and he closed on the leader from the home turn. Upsides at the second last, where he wasn’t as fast as Gino’s Trail, he matched strides with the long-time leader until, after they jumped the last in unison, he pulled away on the run-in. He won by over four lengths in the end from Kerry Lee’s horse, who was in turn miles clear of the remainder.
This was a good performance from Flying Angel. Gino’s Trail is 10 years old, but he is a talented 10-year-old novice, he ran Buveur D’Air to two lengths over the same course and distance on New Year’s Eve. Also, the winning time was really good, the fastest comparative time of the day by far and 0.11secs/furlong faster than Racing Post par.
This was Flying Angel’s first run since he was pulled up behind O O Seven in the Steel Plate and Sections Chase at Cheltenham last November, so it is reasonable to expect that he could come on for it, in terms of sharpness at least. He did appreciate the fast pace and he handled the heavy ground well.
A lot of his good form is on soft ground, like when he was third in the Betfair Hurdle last season and when he won the Imperial Cup last March, and when he won on his chasing bow at Perth in September. However, he proved than he can handle better ground too when he finished second to Ibis Du Rheu in the Martin Pipe Hurdle at last year’s Cheltenham Festival. That run also proved that he could handle Cheltenham Festival conditions.
He will be an interesting outsider now if he runs at this year’s Festival. The Arkle is a possible target, but you have to think that he might have a better chance in the JLT. He would not have to face Altior there but, more importantly, it is over two and a half miles, which is probably more his trip on the likely goodish ground. He is interesting though wherever he goes, he was a high-class handicap hurdler last season and, still just six, Saturday’s run was just his fourth over fences, so he has lots of scope for progression.
11th February 2017