Horses To Follow » The Midnight Club

The Midnight Club

The Midnight Club ran another solid race at the Cheltenham Festival to finish third in the Jewson Chase. He was third in the Albert Bartlett there last year and this was another gutsy effort from the Willie Mullins horse. Held up out the back off a fairly frenetic early pace, he jumped a bit slowly in the early stages and had to be niggled along for a few strides passing the stands to keep in touch. As they moved down the back, he made progress under Paul Townend until a bad jump at the 11th meant that he had to be harried along again to hold his position. Sixth going down the hill and still 10 lengths behind the leaders as they turned for home, he stayed on really well over the last two fences and up the run-in, picking up impressively as they met the rising ground and just failing to catch Othermix for second place, four lengths behind the useful winner Copper Blue.

This run from The Midnight Club was very similar to his run at last year’s festival when he never really travelled well, but began to stay on when coming off the bridle and finishing best. That is The Midnight Club’s running style, he needs to be stoked along during his races and usually hits a flat spot. He always finds more when asked and the fast early pace here worked to his advantage as he undoubtedly needs a longer trip than this. He probably needs at least three miles and easy ground to be at his best so, considering this race was run on good ground and over two miles and five furlongs, it was a big effort.

The Midnight Club had actually been a bit disappointing as a novice chaser before this. He fell at Limerick and was well beaten twice on his two other runs before coming good over two and a half miles at Clonmel on his last run before the festival. He seems to get better as the season goes on and was able to follow up at Punchestown last year after his solid run at Cheltenham. This run can be seen as a nice confidence booster and he can build on it. He would be of big interest if he took his chance in the Irish Grand National off his weight in the long handicap of 10st 9lb. Willie Mullins said recently, however, that the National may come a little too soon, so best advice is to tread warily with him for now. If he did skip Fairyhouse, he would also be of big interest in one of the staying novice chases at the Punchestown Festival, given that he won there last year after running a cracker at the Cheltenham Festival.

18th March 2010