Horses To Follow » Northern Alliance

Northern Alliance

Northern Alliance ran a nice race to finish third behind Made In Taipan in the Flyingbolt Chase at Navan last Monday. Settled out the back early on by Ruby Walsh, he made good progress around the home turn and kept on well to finish just over six lengths behind the winner. A couple of things make this effort even more commendable – he was giving 6lb to Made In Taipan, he was competing over a distance of two miles that is probably short of his best, and he was having his first run since he fell in the Drinmore Chase last November. It is likely that trainer Tony Martin has a handicap in mind for him at Cheltenham. He is rated 135 over fences in Ireland, and 128 over hurdles, but the UK handicapper appears to have given him marks of 141 and 136 respectively. The Jewson Chase is the most appropriate target to my mind, it being a two-and-a-half-mile novices’ chase. He looks to be a better chaser than hurdler, he will be competing against fellow novices in the Jewson, and it looks like two and a half miles is his optimum trip. (He stayed on well to get the better of Footy Facts over two miles and three furlongs at Listowel in September.) However, he is currently entered in six races at Cheltenham, including the Arkle and the Coral Cup, and with only Bet365 going non-runner-no-bet at present, best advice is to hold fire for now.

17th February, 2009