Horses To Follow » Belon Gale

Belon Gale

Belon Gale ran a cracker to finish second to the high class Money Trix in the two-mile-six-furlong handicap chase at Kelso on Sunday. Sent to the front from flagfall, Howard Johnson’s gelding had quickly established an advantage of 10 or 12 lengths over his four rivals. Unusually, rider Ryan Mania didn’t give him a breather passing the stands first time, he didn’t come back to his field at all, the rider just allowed the horse to keep on pressing. Indeed, even after he made a mistake at the last fence on the first circuit, quite a bad one, actually, which caused him to lose his hind legs a bit, halted his momentum and meant that he had to get going again, Mania was intent on ensuring that there would be no let-up, asking to horse to pick up again straight away, which may not have been the most astute course of action. He kicked on again down the back straight, and had them all on the stretched. Money Trix made quite a bad mistake at the fifth last, and was impeded a little at the fourth last when Cloudy Lane jumped across him on landing just as he put in a big jump, and that allowed Belon Gale a little more rope. He jumped the third last and second last well, and kicked again off the home turn with Money Trix in closest pursuit. Nicky Richards’s grey horse jumped the last upsides and, while it always looked like he was getting the better of things on the long run-in, there was a lot to like about the way in which Belon Gale stuck to his task, going down by just a neck in the end with the pair of them pulling clear of the third horse Cloudy Lane, who was upsides at the last.

This was a huge effort from Belon Gale, competing from 11lb out of the handicap. Ryan Mania’s 3lb claim reduced that deficit to 8lb in theory, and he is a decent rider, no question, but it may have been that the horse would have benefited by more than that amount had Denis O’Regan, who probably just couldn’t do 10st (his lowest riding weight in the last 12 months is 10st 3lb), but one of the best judges of pace, one of the best riders from the front in the business, been jocked up. Even so, there was a lot to like about the way that Belon Gale jumped and travelled, and the way that he stuck to his task and stayed on when it looked like he could have been well beaten. He is really progressive, just a six-year-old who has run just seven times over fences since he won his only point-to-point. On his only other start this season, he ran really well to finish a close-up second behind Zitenka, with subsequent winner Flake well back in third place. The handicapper is sure to have his say now, given that he ran so well from 11lb wrong, but he is really progressive and he can go close again from the front in another soft-ground handicap, perhaps stepped up to three miles and perhaps ridden with a little less gusto from the front.

6th December 2009