Horses To Follow » Theatrical Moment

Theatrical Moment

The three-mile handicap chase at Ascot on Friday was a really interesting contest, with some old stagers like Out The Black and Briery Fox and Bowleaze taking on youngsters like Any Currency and Fairoak Lad and Theatrical Moment. Any Currency did really well to win the race, and Fairoak Lad ran a cracker to finish third, while Out The Black lost no caste in finishing fifth, after looking a likely winner turning for home, but it was Theatrical Moment who caught the eye more than any other. Jonjo O’Neill’s gelding was notably weak in the market beforehand, yet that didn’t stop him putting him a performance of some note. A big strapping chasing type, Noel Fehily kept him wide of his field throughout, presumably in an effort to allow him a clear sight of his fences. Four wide turning some of the corners, he covered more ground than any other horse in the race, but the ploy worked well, as his jumping was good and he travelled well throughout. Well back in the field early on, he made nice progress to get in just behind the front rank passing the winning post first time, and he continued to jump and travel well down the far side. Rounding the home turn, he loomed large on the outside of Bowleaze, just in behind the leading pair, Pretty Star and Out The Black, who were going for home at that point, and he picked up nicely on the run down to the second last, looking a likely winner going to the last, but he just couldn’t sustain his effort on the run-in, and he faded to finish a close fourth, drifting to his left inside the final 50 yards and looking like a tired horse.

This was still a most encouraging effort. Winner of four of the bumpers that he contested, he was largely disappointing over hurdles last season, and he ran no better than adequately behind Gullible Gordon on his chasing bow at Chepstow last month. This was much more encouraging, and he should be able to go on from this now. He is still only six, he could be progressing significantly now as a staying chaser, as a lot of six-year-olds can, and his new handicap rating of 131 – just 1lb higher than the mark off which he raced on Friday – could underestimate his ability. He will be interesting the next time he runs in a staying handicap chase, ideally on ground that isn’t too soft.

20th November 2009