Horses To Follow » Hoo La Baloo

Hoo La Baloo

Hoo La Baloo ran a nice race to finish fourth in the feature race at Lingfield on Saturday, the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase. He jumped and travelled nicely behind a fast pace that was set intermittently by Coach Lane, My Way De Solzen and Patman Du Charmil. As it turned out, the pace was too fast, and Hoo La Baloo made nice ground up the hill to take a good position just behind the leaders, travelling well, as they turned for home. He got in tight to the third last, however, the first in the home straight, and he couldn’t quite match Mr Boo and Laskari for pace over the last two fences, but he kept on nicely all the way to the line under no more than a hands and heels ride.

This was a really nice performance from Hoo La Baloo, and should set him up nicely for his next intended target, the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown on 25th April. Actually, he is of significant interest for that race even at this relatively early juncture. He has been gradually coming down the handicap on the back of a couple of ordinary runs this season. He is now rated 145, a rating off which he has won twice and 9lb lower than the rating off which he finished third in last year’s renewal of the Bet365 Gold Cup.

He loves Sandown. Three of his six wins in the UK have been at Sandown and the other three were also on right-handed tracks. He actually hasn’t won since November 2007, but it is probable that Paul Nicholls has had the Bet365 Gold Cup in mind for him since early this season. He has competed over all trips during his career to date, but proved last year that he does stay the three miles and five and a half furlongs of the Sandown contest, and it is possible that he most effective over that kind of trip these days. Last year he was ridden patiently in order to ensure that he got the trip. This year, there will be no such stamina concerns, and they can ride him where they want, perhaps not as far back as he was last year. He is 9lb better off to boot, and he will be a big player in the Sandown race.

© The Irish Field, 4th April 2009