Horses To Follow » Doctor David

Doctor David

Doctor David was weak in the market before the two-and-a-quarter-mile graduation chase, the feature race at Bangor on Wednesday, but he ran really well for a long way, much better than his finishing position suggests. It was never going to be ideal for him or for Free World, both confirmed front-runners, despite the fact that there were only four horses in the race and, sure enough, the pair took each other on for the lead in the early part of the race, Doctor David and Tom Messenger on the outside, Free World and Ruby Walsh in the inside. It was Doctor David who eventually won that minor battle, and he went on racing away from the stands for the first time, but when you are leading Free World, you are probably going too fast. Caroline Bailey’s grey gelding continued to jump really well, and it looked like he had them stretched going down the far side. Ears pricked, he seemed to be enjoying himself bowling along in front. He pinged all three fences down the far side and led Free World into the home straight, with the pair of them pulling about eight lengths clear of Moon Over Miami and Schelm, but Messenger began to emit distress signals before they reached the second last. Free World had gained the upper hand before they reached that obstacle, and Doctor David got into the bottom of it, a tired horse, and the game was up. The Ronald O’Leary-trained Schelm stayed on strongly to catch Free World on the run-in as Doctor David faded to finish fourth of four.

That will look bad on his record, and people may under-estimate him next time as a result, but he is much better than this. The fact that he was weak in the market suggests that he will probably come on for this, his seasonal debut, as he did for his debut last season and the season before. He can be tricky, he has refused to line up in the past, but he hasn’t had his favoured soft ground since he beat no less than Kalahari King at Haydock last December. Hopefully the ground will be soft when he runs next, in which case he will be very interesting.

12th November 2009

© The Irish Field, 14th November 2009