Horses To Follow » Gold Award

Gold Award

Gold Award was a really impressive winner of a decent two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle at Ffos Las on Sunday. Always travelling well just behind the leaders, the only real scare that his supporters had was at the third last flight, when he dived at it a little and stumbled on landing. It crucial error at a crucial time as Alesandro Mantegna and Herons Well were kicking on from the front, and Bruslini was staying on from the back, and it was one from which Gold Award could have come down, but Barry Geraghty allowed him time to gather himself, and he had so much in hand that he was soon back on the bridle and moving up menacingly towards the leaders. He jumped the second last, ears pricked, in second place, joined Alesandro Mantegna on the run to the last, touched down in front over that obstacle and picked up impressively when Geraghty asked him, easily withstanding the late challenge of the staying-on Bruslini. Gold Award is a big horse, a real staying chaser in the making, but he is a really useful hurdler for now, and he can progress again from this. Winner of his first two bumpers two seasons ago and ninth in Cousin Vinny’s Cheltenham bumper, we didn’t see The Queen’s gelding again until last February, when he won a novices’ hurdle at Doncaster. He probably would have finished second to current leading Arkle hope Tataniano on his final start last season at Cheltenham had he not come down at the last.

This was his first run since. He travelled a lot better here than he did in any of his previous runs over hurdles. The step up to two and a half miles probably helped a lot, but he also seems to have matured, become more professional. The handicapper will undoubtedly raise him from the mark of 117 off which he raced on Sunday, but he is progressive – this was just his fourth run over hurdles – and he should be able for a hefty enough hike. He could be a Coral Cup horse.

17th January 2010

© The Irish Field, 23rd January 2010