Horses To Follow » Spirit River

Spirit River

Spirit River confirmed the impression that he had created when he made a bad mistake at the third last in the Totesport Trophy by running out an impressive winner of the Coral Cup on Wednesday. Settled nicely just behind the leaders by Barry Geraghty, Nicky Henderson’s horse travelled like a good horse throughout, he was the only horse still on the bridle going to the second last. He went on over the second last, travelled well around the home turn and down to the last, jumped that flight well and ran away from them up the hill to post an impressive win.

They probably didn’t go as fast here in the early stages as you would expect in a Coral Cup, so it was a help that Spirit River was in a good position close to the pace in the early stages of the race. Also, Wishfull Thinking was rallying well at the second last when he came down, and he hampered one or two in behind, most notably Silverhand. However, it is difficult to argue that Spirit River was not the best horse in the race, or that he wouldn’t have won however the race had been run or even if Wishfull Thinking had stood up. A son of Poliglote, Spirit River is still only five. Winner of a hurdle race in his native France last March, he has run just four times over hurdles now in the UK. He finished fifth behind Get Me Out Of Here on his UK debut at Newbury in November, staying on encouragingly towards the end, before he ran out a really impressive winner of a handicap hurdle at Cheltenham’s December meeting, on the back of which he was made favourite for the Totesport Trophy even though he was raised 13lb for his Cheltenham performance. He was travelling really well at the top of the home straight in the Totesport, and had to have been involved in the finish, before that mistake ended all hope and he was wisely eased by Barry Geraghty and allowed come home in his own time. The benefits of that decision were reaped last Wednesday. That could be it for him over hurdles, we may not see him again this season but, if he does make it to Aintree or to Punchestown, he will be of significant interest, and he is a hugely exciting novice chasing prospect for next season.

17th March 2010

© The Irish Field, 20th March 2010