Horses To Follow » Becauseicouldntsee


Becauseicouldntsee ran a cracker to finish second to Poker De Sivola in the four-mile National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham on Wednesday. Settled just behind the leaders in the early stages by Nina Carberry, the son of Beneficial travelled really well throughout. He made a slight mistake and was impeded a little when Tinakellylad fell at the first fence down the back straight, but he jumped really well in the main, travelled best of all down the hill and went about two lengths clear jumping the second last as Nina went for home, but he didn’t go as far clear as it looked like he would. Poker De Sivola and Katie Walsh stuck at it on the near side to join the leader over the last and just get the better of him on the run-in in the finish of the meeting.

While it was a game and gutsy performance by the winning horse and rider, the runner-up lost nothing in defeat. He travelled better than the winner down the hill over the third last and second last, and it seemed that Poker De Sivola just did him for stamina over this gruelling four-mile trip.

Once in danger of being axed from the Cheltenham Festival schedule, this four-mile National Hunt Chase is a good race now, a really good pointer to the good staying handicap chases later in the season (Butler’s Cabin, Character Building, Tricky Trickster, Niche Market and Hennessy have all come out of this race in recent years), and there is every reason to believe that this year’s renewal was well up to standard. Even though the front pair finished just over two lengths clear of the third horse Prudent Honour – who himself ran a cracker after being hampered at the fourth last – they had it all to themselves from a fair way out, and the time of the race was good for this class, almost bang on Racing Post par.

This was a really good performance from Noel Glynn’s gelding, especially considering he raced on just three shoes after he spread a plate on his way to the start. He is just seven, and was racing over fences for just the sixth time in his life, so there is every chance that there is significant progression to come. Winner of his point-to-point in February 2008, he was off for more than a year before he won his bumper on his racecourse debut at Killarney last July, and he has been progressing since. On his last run before Cheltenham, he won his beginners’ chase by a distance at Fairyhouse in February, admittedly aided by the departure of his closest pursuer Deal Done at the third last, but he almost certainly had that one’s measure at the time anyway, and that Dessie Hughes-trained gelding upheld the form by winning his beginners’ chase at Navan last Sunday.

In five completed runs now over fences, Becauseicouldntsee has never been out of the first four, and he has only once been out of the first two. He went into this race on a handicap mark of 136, and he is probably in for a fair hike for this performance, but he looks progressive enough to take that in his stride. The Irish National looks like the ideal race for him now. The three-mile-five-furlong trip should be perfect for him, novices do well in that race and he has a proven affinity for Fairyhouse, having won there once and run really well in defeat twice in just three visits. Interestingly, two of the last three winners of the Irish National have come out of the National Hunt Chase. Becauseicouldntsee handles soft ground and good ground, and he is an exciting prospect.

17th March 2010

© The Irish Field, 20th March 2010