Horses To Follow » Rollwiththepunches


Rollwiththepunches put up a really nice performance to win a two-mile novices’ hurdle at Huntingdon on Saturday, a race that was probably a fair bit better than its Class 4 billing suggests. Sent to the front from flagfall by Paul Moloney, the son of Hernando travelled well throughout and jumped well. The Nicky Henderson horse Rackham Lerouge moved up threateningly as they rounded the home turn, but Rollwiththepunches found plenty in front, jumped the final two flights well and pulled away on the run-in to win by over three lengths.

There is a chance that this performance will be under-rated by many, as is often the case when a 16/1 shot wins a novices’ hurdle. The form of this race looks solid. Rackham Lerouge had won three of his four bumpers in France during the summer, and came into this race with a good reputation from a yard which continues in sparkling form and seems to have beaten the freeze. The first two pulled seven lengths clear of the third horse Bangkok Pete, who had been impressive in landing a novices’ hurdle on his previous start, while the fourth horse Eyre Square had run well to finish third behind Quantitativeeasing, current second favourite for the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, on his previous start, and the fifth horse Prince Buster had finished second behind Bellvano on his previous start. Furthermore, the time of the race was good, the best comparative time of the day and just outside Racing Post par. This was Rollwiththepunches’s first start over hurdles. He had failed to win in four runs in bumpers, although he did shape with a little bit of promise on his previous start when he finished a close-up third also at Huntingdon in December, but he is obviously a much better hurdler than he was a bumper horse, he jumps so well, and he can continue to progress now. His trainer Charlie McBride holds him in high regard and thinks that he will improve further for stepping up in trip – he is a half-brother to Lankawi, who finished second to Reveillez in the big three-mile handicap chase at Aintree in 2006 – which makes sense given how well he stayed on here when he was challenged. Apparently a two-and-a-half-mile hurdle back at Huntingdon next month is next on his agenda. He could improve for stepping up in trip, he is hugely progressive anyway, he obviously likes Huntingdon and he will be of big interest if he fulfils that engagement.

16th January 2010