Horses To Follow » Carruthers


Carruthers put in a seriously impressive display of jumping and galloping to run his rivals ragged in the Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot on Saturday. A high class staying novice hurdler last season, this was just his third start over fences, and he continues to progress. He was immediately installed as the 7/1 joint favourite for the RSA Chase at Cheltenham, and that is fully understandable. He will be well suited by the war of attrition that that race invariably is and, given the way that he jumps, he will probably be even better suited by going left-handed.

However, two worries regarding the RSA Chase. Firstly, Reynoldstown Chase winners have a terrible record in that contest. Before Albertas Run did the double last year, you had to go back 35 years to find the last horse to have won both races. It is probable that a hard race at Ascot, less than four weeks before Cheltenham, is not the ideal preparation for the RSA. Although Carruthers won well on Saturday, the ground was really testing, and there is very little doubt that he had a hard race.

The other worry about Carruthers is that, although he did win an egg and spoon race at Fakenham on good ground on his previous start, all of his best form has been on soft ground. Also, he did run disappointingly in the Albert Bartlett Hurdle at Cheltenham last season. I would prefer to see him wait for the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree, in which his front-running jump-and-run style could be seen to maximum effect.

The Irish Field, 21st February, 2009