Horses To Follow » I'm So Lucky

I’m So Lucky

I’m So Lucky is well worth noting now after a hugely encouraging performance in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. Settled in rear in the early stages – he was actually disputing last place with Can’t Buy Time and Chapoturgeon over the first three fences – his jumping over the first two fences in the home straight first time was a little sticky, and he was stone last of the 12 runners as a consequence as they began their final circuit. He warmed to his task down the back straight, however and, moved towards the outside by Denis O’Regan, he made nice progress to move up just behind the leaders, travelling well, going down the hill on the far side. Fourth and travelling well going to the fourth last fence, he was unlucky that Fit To Drive fell in front of him, fell to her right into his path, and brought him down. It is impossible to know how the race would have panned out, four out is still a long way from home on the new course at Cheltenham, but I’m So Lucky was probably travelling better than anything at that point, and it is difficult to believe that he would not have been involved at the finish. This was much more like it. David Pipe’s gelding is a classy individual who has looked out of sorts of late. He finished second to Auroras Encore in the big two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle at Aintree in April 2008, and again finished second to Blue Bajan in the Swinton Hurdle a month later. He looked like a really useful novice when he won two chases in the summer of 2008, before he finished second behind Planet Of Sound in the good two-and-a-quarter-mile novices’ chase run at Newbury’s Challow Hurdle meeting, the race that Take The Breeze won this year. He had no answer to Planet Of Sound’s pace up the home straight that day, but he was the only one to give him a race, and he had Galant Nuit, Crocodiles Rock and Sir Jimmy Shand well behind. He was sent off as one of the co-favourites for a good two-mile handicap chase at Doncaster last January on the back of that run, but he couldn’t sustain his effort after leading early, and he faded to finish fifth.

Since then, he has been disappointing, albeit that he has been highly tried, finishing well down the field behind Oh Crick in both the Grand Annual at Cheltenham and the Red Rum Chase at Aintree, probably the two most competitive two-mile handicap chases on the calendar. Pulled up on his seasonal debut this term in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, it was looking like he would never fulfil his potential before his run here. This was highly encouraging and he could now go on from this. He has slipped to a rating of 135 over fences, which is 8lb lower than his hurdles rating. He stays two and a half miles well, and his best performances both over fences and over hurdles have been on left-handed flat tracks like Haydock and Newbury and Aintree. He has won on soft ground, but he is probably even better on better ground, and he will be interesting now wherever he goes next. The big two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase at Newbury would be an ideal target for him now.

1st January 2010