Horses To Follow » Doctor Pat

Doctor Pat

There was a lot to like about the performance that Doctor Pat put up in landing the two-mile-six-and-a-half-furlong handicap chase at Newbury on Tuesday. It was a day on which it paid to race handily, yet AP McCoy had no difficulty settling JP McManus’s gelding out the back. He was actually last passing the winning post first time after a mistake at the last on the first circuit. He progressed nicely from the end of the back straight, however, and up the home straight. Reblis looked to be travelling well in front, but it looked like McCoy always felt that he could pick him up. Doctor Pat jumped the last just behind Reblis, and stayed really well up the run-in to catch and pass Reblis inside the final 150 yards.

Doctor Pat is now a really exciting prospect. Third in a two-and-a-half-mile novices’ hurdle at Ascot last February, the Francois Doumen-trained gelding raced three times at Auteuil this autumn, finishing fifth behind Cyrlight in a hurdle race in the first of them, but he caught many an eye at Sandown on his last start before Tuesday when, apparently set with an awful lot to do turning for home, he got up in the very last stride to beat the highly-regarded Paul Nicholls horse Rivaliste. The handicapper put him up just 5lb for that, which was fairly lenient, and he was accordingly well-backed on Tuesday off his new mark of 116. It will be interesting to see how the handicapper reacts to this performance now, he can’t be too harsh on him given that he only just got home by a length, but he is hugely progressive now and should be able to remain a fair way ahead of the handicapper. Given that he is owned by JP McManus, one of the big spring handicaps is surely on his agenda. He stays well, so perhaps the William Hill Chase at Cheltenham is his target. He should be a leading player in that, or in whichever big handicap chase he tackles, and don’t be surprised if we don’t see him now until then. Interestingly, AP McCoy said after Tuesday’s race that he would be even better on better ground.

29th December 2009