Horses To Follow » Pleasant Company
Ruby Walsh deservedly received the accolades for his winning ride on Pleasant Colony in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse on Saturday, but Pleasant Company himself has got even more interesting now on the back of this performance than he was beforehand.
Settled towards the rear of the field by Ruby Walsh through the early stages of the race, he made stealthy headway down the side of the track. Still around 10 or 12 lengths behind the leader over the fourth last, he moved easily into third as they neared the third last, took second placed from Baie Des Iles around the home turn and moved easily behind Thunder And Roses on the run to the second last fence. His rider asked him to get close to the leader between the final two fences, but he didn’t fully go for him until after they had jumped the last and, when they did, the response was impressive. Pleasant Company picked up from the final fence, joined Thunder And Roses with about 200 yards to run and went on to win by a half a length.
The Willie Mullins-trained gelding is progressing nicely now as a staying chaser. Winner of a bumper when he was with David Pipe, Malcolm Denmark’s horse beat the useful Montys Meadow a three-mile beginners’ chaser for Willie Mullins on his debut last season, and he rounded off the term by winning the Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase over an extended three miles at the Punchestown Festival last April off a mark of 139.
He wore a hood for the first time that day, and he retained it when he made his debut this season in the Thyestes Chase, where he ran a cracker off a mark of 148 to finish fourth on ground that should have been softer than ideal for him. He stepped forward from that run to win on Saturday, again on ground that was probably too soft.
By Presenting, he should do better now as the ground starts to get better again. He holds an entry in the Aintree Grand National and, with a Grand National rating of 149, equal to his new Irish rating, that is the obvious race for him now. He jumps well, he stays well, he should appreciate the likely better ground at Aintree and, from the family of 2008 Grand National winner and 2009 Grand National runner-up Comply Or Die, a big run in the Aintree showpiece would not surprise.
25th February 2017