Horses To Follow » Qhilimar


Qhilimar put in a nice performance to win a two-mile-six-and-a-half-furlong handicap chase at Newbury on Friday. Sent off almost last of the 12 runners and towards the outside by Richard Johnson, he made some progress up the home straight first time, to pass the winning post in fifth position, but still forsaking ground by going wide. He was a little hesitant over his fences in the early stages, but he was much more fluent when the pace increased going down the back straight, having a cut when he saw a stride and still able to shorten up cleverly when he needed to. Johnson had to niggle him along at the top of the home straight, but he moved into third place behind Far More Serious and Freeze Up, both of whom appeared to be travelling well, three lengths clear of Qhilimar. He moved into second place between the final two fences, and looked set to take leader Freeze Up’s measure when that horse blundered badly at the last, leaving Qhilimar clear to power up the run-in and win well, although it is probable that he would have won even if Freeze Up had jumped the last adequately.

This was a really nice performance from a progressive youngster. He is still only six, and this was just his fifth chase since arriving from France. He probably would have finished second behind Razor Royale in an amateur riders’ race at Cheltenham’s November meeting had he not fallen at the second last, and this was his first run over three miles or thereabouts since, a move which he seemed to appreciate. The handicapper has given him an 8lb hike for this, but he is still progressive, and he should improve again for stepping up to three miles or more. He remains interesting.

29th January 2010