Horses To Follow » Oh Braga

Oh Braga

Oh Braga ran out a game winner of the two-and-a-quarter-mile novices’ handicap chase at Newbury on Saturday. Tom George’s gelding led and jumped more than adequately through the early stages, but he made a couple of mistakes down the back straight, which caused him to surrender the lead. Back on an even keel and looking the most likely winner when they straightened up for home, another mistake at the fourth last was no help, while a momentum-halting error at the last, which he seemed to meet on a good stride but then neglected to pick his hind legs up, could have ended his chance, but he bounded clear on the run-in under Paddy Brennan to post an ultimately emphatic victory.

This was just Oh Braga’s seventh time on a racecourse, just his second chase, and he was as green as grass. He didn’t seem to know what was expected of him when Brennan asked him to go on at the third last, and he ran around on the run to the last. Even so, he was obviously by far the best horse in the race on the day at the weights, and he pulled away to win nicely in the end. Moreover, this was Oh Braga’s first run in 322 days and, given that it was only his second chase, he can be expected to improve markedly for the experience.

Unfortunately these progressive horses tend to be hammered these days by the handicapper, who seems to allot ratings based on what he thinks they can achieve, not what they have actually achieved, so there is probably a significant hike in store for Oh Braga from his mark of 103, but he may be able to cope with whatever is forthcoming. He may be more progressive than that for which the handicapper can allow. He doesn’t hold any Cheltenham entries, but he is entered at Wincanton on Friday. He may be better off not going up and down hills at breakneck pace for now anyway, but he is an exciting prospect.

28th February, 2009