Horses To Follow » Coe


Coe ran a big race under 11st 12lb to finish second to Never So Blue in a three-mile handicap chase on soft ground at Haydock on Thursday. A little free in the early stages of the race – Richard McGrath actually took a tug passing the winning post first time – despite the fact that the pace was fast enough in the ground with Daldini and Fresh Air And Fun taking each other on up front, Sue Smith’s gelding got into a nice rhythm down the far side, and he, Never So Blue and Appleaday had it between them turning for home. From there it was likely that Coe’s undoubted stamina would come into play, but he seemed to blow up after jumping the third last, which was absolutely forgivable given that this was his first run since he ran in the Scottish National last April. He has never been at his best on his seasonal debut. He hadn’t finished better than fifth in three seasonal debuts before this, and he was well beaten when sent off at short odds for a Class 4 beginners’ chase on his debut last term. This was a hugely encouraging run. The handicapper has left him alone on a mark of 135 subsequently, which was uncharacteristically lenient, and that mark could under-estimate his ability now. The winner of this race, Never So Blue, came out eight days later and ran well enough in the amateur riders’ race at Cheltenham’s November meeting when a mistake at the sixth last didn’t help.

Coe is still only seven, he has raced just eight times over fences, and it is probable that there is still plenty of improvement to come. He revels in soft ground, and he has limitless stamina, as he proved when he won the Tim Molony Chase over three and a half miles at Haydock last January, and when he finished second to Rambling Minster over the same course and distance in the Blue Square Vodka Gold Cup the following month off a mark of 132. He is in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle on Saturday, he is in another handicap chase at Carlisle on Sunday, and he will be of interest if he lines up in either, although both are three-mile races, so ideally he would need the ground to be very soft in order that his stamina can be brought into play. Looking further ahead, he could be a Welsh National horse. The ground is usually soft for the Chepstow marathon on 27th December, and Coe’s rating of 135 is just about ideal for the race (five of the last 10 winners of the race were rated between 131 and 135.)

5th November 2009