Horses To Follow » Advisor


Advisor put in a fine performance to win the juvenile hurdle at Ascot on Saturday. He quickly settled into a nice rhythm for Ruby Walsh just behind the early leader Dark Oasis, jumping well. His hurdling was a little deliberate up the side of the track as the pace increased, but he was still able to take it up, going best, on the run to the second last. He was good again over the last two flights, and he came away to post an impressive victory.

The time of the race was good for juveniles, just 0.8secs/furlong slower than standard, almost equalling Racing Post par, and the form of the race is solid with Barwell Bridge – an 85-rated performer on the flat who was impressive in winning his only previous race over hurdles at Ffos Las in December – chasing him home and the pair coming clear of their rivals. Advisor himself was rated 81 on the flat when trained by Michael Bell. Like Barwell Bridge, he had also had one prior run over hurdles, at Newbury in December, when he showed a willing attitude in battling on well to beat Rougham. That Philip Hobbs-trained horse made mistakes at each of the last three flights that day, and he subsequently let the form down somewhat on his next run, but that run was simply too bad a run to be true, and the Newbury race still looks like a good race.

This was a step forward from Advisor, however, and he has to be considered a serious Triumph Hurdle prospect now. Even though Paul Nicholls also has one of the favourites for that race in Pistolet Noir, and another fancied runner in Royal Mix, he made no effort to hide the regard in which he holds Advisor both before this race and afterwards, and current odds of 16/1 about him for the Triumph Hurdle are interesting. It is also significant that the last two winners of this Ascot race were last year’s Triumph Hurdle winner Zaynar, and the 2008 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle runner-up Binocular, who possibly would have won that year’s Triumph Hurdle had he run in it.

23rd January 2010