Horses To Follow » Fire And Rain

Fire And Rain

The 0-115 two-and-a-half-mile novices’ handicap chase at Kempton on St Patrick’s Day may not have been the best novices’ handicap chase ever run, but Fire And Rain did it nicely in the best time of the day, and he may be worth following now that he has this confidence-boosting win under his belt. Kicked off in front by Noel Fehily, he jumped to his left at most of his obstacles, but he ran his rivals ragged, and had them stone cold at the end of the back straight. He did jump well throughout and, despite the fact that he forsook plenty of ground by jumping to his left, he finished full of running. He will be better on a left-handed track.

This was just Fire And Rain’s third race over fences. He was sixth in the 2006 Great Voltigeur when trained by Aidan O’Brien. Actually, he was O’Brien’s first string in the race, the mount of Michael Kinane, and he finished in front of Stage Gift and Papal Bull. He joined Emma Lavelle at the beginning of 2007, and finished last in the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes for her before being sent over hurdles, where he shaped with promise initially – he was third to Golan Way on his debut – but failed to win in four tries. He failed to complete on his first two starts over fences, but there is no doubt that he has ability and, now that he has won, he could go on to much better things.

The handicapper is sure to raise him significantly now for this win from his mark of 98, but he was rated 88 on the flat, and there may be significant improvement to come. He is entered at Taunton and Ascot later this week, presumably with the intention of racing again under a penalty before the handicapper has the chance to re-assess him, but hopefully he will by-pass both of those engagements as, given his orientation at his fences, you have to think that he will be better on a left-handed track.

17th March, 2009