Horses To Follow » Wheels Up

Wheels Up

Wheels Up was an impressive winner of the two-and-a-quarter-mile handicap chase at Newbury on Saturday. Well backed on the morning of the race, he travelled really well out the back for AP McCoy in the early stages of the race, moved up nicely at the cross fence. For a little while, over the fourth last and the third last, it looked like he was going to struggle to pick up Bormo, and that rival jumped the last better than Wheels Up as McCoy switched to the near side, but Wheels Up found plenty, he made up the ground easily enough without the need for his rider to ask for maximum effort, and he won cosily in the end.

This was Wheels Up’s 14th start over fences, but it was just his fifth for Jonjo O’Neill having come over from Ireland, and the change in scene has obviously agreed with him. He has progressed with each of his five runs, he was rated 115 going into Saturday’s race, and a 6lb hike to a mark of 121 is not severe. The runner-up on Saturday, Bormo, is a nice young progressive chaser of Alan King’s, and the front pair pulled well clear of their field. That said, Wheels Up appeared to have a fair bit more in hand of Bormo than the two-length winning margin, and even his new mark looks fairly lenient now. He handled soft and heavy ground well in Ireland, but he did seem to appreciate this better ground. This near-two-and-a-half-mile trip looked good for him, he saw it out well and he may even improve again for a slightly stiffer test. There is at least another handicap in him off this mark.

6th March 2010