Horses To Follow » Fosters Cross

Fosters Cross

Fosters Cross was running a big race before he unseated his rider at the third last in the Grade 2 two-mile novices’ chase at Cheltenham on Sunday. He travelled easily under Robert Power just behind the leader Tataniano, getting a nice lead, and his jumping was really good. The third last fence on Cheltenham’s Old Course is a tricky fence. You come downhill towards it, and then the ground levels off just at the fence and on the landing side. Fosters Cross was meeting it a little wrong, put in a short one before it, clipped the top of it and stumbled on landing, slithered and gave his rider no real chance of staying on. It was an unjust exit given how good his jumping had been up to that point. Of course, we will never know how he would have fared, but it is likely that he would have put it up to Tataniano, a really smart novice, as short as 6/1 second favourite for the Arkle, from the Paul Nicholls yard, the yard that had won four of the previous 10 renewals of this race, a race that has been won by such top class performers as Azertyuiop, Fair Along and Best Mate in the past.

Fosters Cross is not even in the betting in most lists for the Arkle, and Tom Mullins’s gelding could be seriously under-rated. He was a really progressive hurdler this summer, he was running a cracker in the Galway Hurdle until he fell at the last, and he beat Henry de Bromhead’s recent Cheltenham Grade 2 winner Loosen My Load at Tipperary in October. On his first chase, he stayed on really well up the hill on ground that would probably have been softer than ideal to win a Grade 3 contest at Galway at the end of October, from which the runner-up, Schelm, came out and subsequently beat Free World, Moon Over Miami and Doctor David in a good Class 2 contest at Bangor. Fosters Cross is still a really exciting novice chaser, and he should be worth following wherever he shows up next. He is in the Drinmore Chase, but he may be better kept to two miles for now. He could be well over-priced if his next engagement is in the UK.

15th November 2009

© The Irish Field, 21st November 2009