Horses To Follow » According To Dick

According To Dick

According To Dick ran out a really game winner of a hot-looking two-mile novices’ hurdle at Sandown on Friday. Settled just behind the front rank by Richard Johnson, his jumping wasn’t that fluent through the early stages of the race, and then, just when he was warming up, the pace up front, which had been fairly generous, slowed a little towards the end of the back straight, with the result that Johnson had to restrain his partner in behind runners, which wasn’t ideal. By contrast, the Paul Nicholls horse, Royal Charm, enjoyed a smooth passage under Ruby Walsh, took it up on the run to the second last, and looked the most likely winner at that point, but According To Dick found plenty. He effectively put the race to bed with a surge between the final two flights, and even a fairly guessy jump at the last didn’t stop his momentum.

It is probable that this was a much better race than its Class 3 tag suggests. The runner-up, a French import who was making his debut for Nicholls, who, as a four-year-old was getting 9lb from the winner, was really well fancied and backed in to 11/10 favouritism in front of According To Dick, and there is no reason to presume that he did not run his race. Furthermore, the front pair pulled well clear of the third horse Burton Port, a bumper winner and a hurdle winner from the Henderson yard.

According To Dick, for his own part, was bought for €200,000 after winning his point-to-point, and was an impressive winner of the bumper at the Cheltenham October meeting this season. He had disappointed on his only previous start over hurdles at Exeter, when he didn’t find as much as it looked like he might. The softish ground was probably against him that day, which is hardly surprising for a son of Accordion, and it is significant that they left him off from then until now, presumably in order to wait for better ground, which they got on Friday. He is obviously really progressive and, if he were to take up his engagement in the Ballymore Properties Hurdle, he could go well at a big price. Even if he were not, it should still pay to follow him wherever he goes in the future.

20th February, 2009