Horses To Follow » Catch Bob

Catch Bob

Catch Bob ran out an impressive winner of the two-mile handicap hurdle at Leicester on Sunday. Held up out the back in the early stages off a sedate pace, the Ferdy Murphy-trained gelding was kept wide throughout by Graham Lee in search of the best of the ground. He raced a bit freely off the unsuitably slow pace when he saw plenty of daylight as Lee moved him to the far rail on his own going down the back straight, but he had settled again by the time they reached the home turn. Still widest all the way around that turn, he made nice progress on the near side up the home straight, just picked up in front over the second last, travelled easily down to the last, pinged that and kept on nicely up the run-in under no more than a hands and heels ride to win readily.

This was a really nice performance from the son of Bob Back, he was value for much more than the winning margin, and he looks most progressive now. He is only five, and this was just his second run of the season. On his seasonal debut, he ran a cracker to finish second to Trafalgar Road over two miles on heavy ground at Haydock at the beginning of November, and that form is rock solid now. Trafalgar Road was noted staying on really well to finish third behind Fairyland in the Gerry Fielden at Newbury on Saturday off a 5lb higher mark on ground that would have been fast enough for him, while the third horse that day, Sam Lord, was unlucky not to win a decent handicap hurdle at Aintree on Becher Chase day. Catch Bob went up just 1lb for that run to a mark of 105. He is bound to go up a fair bit more now for this, but he is progressive enough to take a fair hike in his stride. He appears to be at his best on soft ground, he seems to be able to cruise along easily through it, and there is no reason why he needs to step up in trip. The fast pace that one of the big two-mile handicap hurdle provides would suit him well, and he could be a candidate for something like the Ladbroke or the Pierse on soft ground. An 8lb or 10lb hike should still see him get into either of those towards the bottom of the handicap.

29th November 2009