Horses To Follow » Pressgang


Pressgang is another for whom the Jewson Chase looks a likely target. The two-and-a-half-mile chase at Taunton last Thursday was a strangely-run affair. Pressgang looked to be travelling by far the best of the five runners throughout. Timmy Murphy had to even take a pull before the last in the back straight to prevent him from hitting the front too early. Kia Kaha looked to be beaten at the entrance to the home straight, but he was beginning to stay on, and might well have been involved in the finish when he fell at the third last.

At that point, it looked like Pressgang had long-time leader Herecomesthetruth’s measure, but the leader kept on finding more for pressure, as Pressgang switched to the far side and found disappointingly little, with his rider accepting the situation plenty early enough. There is little doubt that Pressgang will have enjoyed this experience. He didn’t have too hard a race, and he should come on appreciably for it.

It is difficult to believe that the son of Unfuwain still hasn’t won again since he landed a 12-furlong bumper at Newbury in January 2006. He was only beaten a head by Hairy Molly in the Cheltenham Bumper on his second start, but was on the sidelines for more than 20 months thereafter and didn’t manage to win in three attempts over hurdles. His chasing debut run behind Buck The Legend at Newbury’s Hennessy meeting was encouraging, however, and this run at Taunton was even more so. The handicapper has given him a rating of 125 over fences, which could under-estimate his ability significantly. He jumps well, he has proven that he handles Cheltenham Festival conditions well, and he is another for whom the Jewson could be a prime target.

© The Irish Field, 20th December, 2008