Horses To Follow » Oldrik


Saturday’s Imperial Cup was all about the Philip Hobbs-trained Qaspal, but runner-up Oldrik lost no caste in going down by two lengths to his stable companion. Settled out the back in the early stages by Richard Johnson, he missed the third flight down the back straight, and really wasn’t travelling that well at all at the end of the back straight. He was actually hampered by his stable companion going into the bottom bend, with the result that Johnson had to switch him out and race wide around the home turn. From there, however, he picked up impressively, he made rapid progress from the top of the home straight on the near side, and took it up going over the second last. Qaspal nodded on landing over that obstacle, and Oldrik stole a bit of a march on him, but Oldrik himself got in a little tight to the last and allowed Qaspal back in. Oldrik was in front plenty early enough, he is horse who appears to like to pass horses, who doesn’t like to be in front too early, and the cheekpieces that he wears are not a fashion accessory, but there was a lot to like about the manner in which he galloped all the way up the run-in after Qaspal passed him. The winner is a really progressive individual, he could be a big talent, Oldrik only went down by two lengths and the pair of them pulled clear of their field in what is always a highly competitive handicap.

Oldrik has now raced 35 times under all codes in his career, you wouldn’t have thought that he would have any secrets from anybody, but for some reason he is in the form of his life of late. He ran a cracker to finish a staying on fifth in a hot Totesport Trophy on his last run before Saturday, his last four runs have seen him record the four highest Racing Post Ratings of his life, and his performance on Saturday was his highest. He would be interesting if he took his chance in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on Friday. He races now like the step up to two and a half miles would suit well, and he would meet Qaspal on 5lb better terms than Saturday’s for a two-length beating. It is probable that Qaspal had a fair bit more in hand than that, and he is obviously the more progressive, but Qaspal is a 3/1 shot for the Cheltenham contest whereas Oldrik is a 20/1 shot. Also, if Qaspal ran in the County Hurdle instead, it would have the double-whammy effect of weakening Oldrik’s potential competition, and leaving top conditional rider Rhys Flint free to partner him. If he doesn’t run at Cheltenham, he could be one for the big two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle at Aintree.

13th March 2010