Horses To Follow » Helpston


Helpston did well to finish second to Clova Island in a good two-mile-five-furlong handicap hurdle at Kempton on Saturday. Cabinet Minister set a lightning fast pace and Helpston chased it, which meant that it was going to be difficult for him to fully last home. Cabinet Minister himself faded at the end of the back straight and was eventually pulled up, while Stripe Me Blue, who was well backed, the other horse who chased the pace, did keep on well enough but faded in the home straight to finish a tired fifth, some 20 lengths behind the winner. All of this makes Helpston’s effort all the more meritorious. Always in the van under David England, Pam Sly’s gelding went on on the run to the second last. At that point it was obvious that Clova Island, who had been ridden more patiently, was travelling much better, and he came clear to post an impressive win, but Helpston stuck to his task well and himself came clear of the rest of the field. It is impossible to know how he would have fared had he been ridden with more restraint, Clova Island was an impressive winner in the end, but it is safe to assume that he would have gone a lot closer to winning than he did.

The handicapper has left Helpston on his old mark of 130 after this, which is lenient, especially given that the winner has gone up 10lb. Helpston is only six, he has raced just seven times over hurdles in his life, and he is most progressive. He kept the best of company last season as a novice, getting close to Time For Rupert and Pause And Clause, and beating Lake Legend. He was disappointing on his first two runs this term, but both of those were over three miles, which he didn’t seem to stay, and this was much more like it dropped back down to two and a half miles. He can go on from this now. He goes well in the spring, his rating of 130 under-rates him, and he will be of interest now wherever he runs next.

27th February 2010