Horses To Follow » Rougham


Rougham ran a race that was full of merit to finish second to Advisor in a Class 4 juvenile maiden hurdle at Newbury on Wednesday. Sent to the front from flagfall by Richard Johnson, just as he had been on his hurdling bow at Wincanton earlier this month when he won by a distance, he was still clear when he made a mistake at the third last, still in front when he made another mistake at the second last and he just about held the upper hand when he got the last completely wrong, losing his hind legs, so he did really well to finish second, six lengths behind Advisor and the same distance in front of the rest.

This was a good race, it often is (the first and second in the Triumph Hurdle last March, Zaynar and Walkon, finished first and second in it last year), and the time was good, the fastest of the three hurdle races run over the distance on the day, and the only time to dip below Racing Post par. The winner Advisor could be a very useful sort, an 81-rated performer on the flat when with Michael Bell making his debut over hurdles for Paul Nicholls, and Rougham would have been a lot closer to him if he had jumped any of the last three flights, most notably the last, a little better. Furthermore, he was conceding 7lb and more to everything in the race, a not insignificant burden for a juvenile on this soft ground. Rougham was only rated 70 on the flat, he didn’t win in three attempts, but he is a half-brother to Leadership, a Godolphin Group 1 winner, and it looks like he will shape into a much better hurdler. Both his runs over hurdles have been on soft ground, but he did finish second in a maiden at Bath on good to firm ground, so he should be okay on better ground in the spring. He stays well and, as long as Philip Hobbs can iron out the errors that he made at the last three flights here – and his jumping up to that point was good – then he could have a big future over timber. Hobbs has sent out two of the last five winners of the Triumph Hurdle and, although you can back Rougham at 60/1 on Betfair for that race at present (he is not even quoted by most of the bookmakers) it wouldn’t be surprising if he had that race in mind for Rougham already.

16th December 2009