Horses To Follow » Saphir Des Bois

Saphir Des Bois

Saphir Des Bois put up what was probably a career-best to win a good two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase at Fontwell on Sunday. A confirmed front-runner, with Herecomesthetruth and Radetsky March in the race, something was going to have to give, and Richie McLernon obviously decided before the tape went up to allow those two at it, to settle Saphir Des Bois in behind, not even contest the early lead, and the horse seemed to appreciate that. He also seemed to appreciate getting his toe in and stepping up to two and a half miles, and this could be his optimum combination now. He shaped a little like a non-stayer over two miles and five furlongs on his previous run at Warwick, when he faded to finish third to Piraya, but he led that day. This could be the way forward for him now, held up just behind the pace, two and a half miles and soft ground. He jumped very well in the main, and began to put it up to the leader Herecomesthetruth at the end of the back straight. He took it up on the inside around the home turn, jumped on at the third last and, despite getting in tight to the second last and getting the last all wrong – his rider losing his irons – he kept on gamely to hold the late lunge of Or Bleu.

This was a good effort from Jonjo O’Neill’s gelding. Or Bleu is a decent sort from the Philip Hobbs yard, which won this race last year with Oceanos Des Obeaux, and he was well backed, the pair of them pulled clear of Herecomesthetruth and the time of the race was good, 0.34secs/furlong faster than Racing Post par. Saphir Des Bois is still only six and he can progress again now. The handicapper is sure to give him a couple of pounds for this, but as long as he isn’t too severe, Saphir Des Bois will be of interest wherever he shows up next. He may be a little under the radar now given that this was not a high-profile race.

28th February 2010