Horses To Follow » Captain Chris

Captain Chris

Captain Chris put up a nice performance to win a Class 4 novices’ hurdle at Kempton on Tuesday. This was effectively a two-horse race, with the winner and the runner-up Rollwiththepunches clear of their rivals both in the pre-race market and in the race itself.

Rollwiththepunches and Paul Moloney set out to make all, just as they did on the previous occasion on which they had teamed up in a novices’ hurdle at Huntingdon in January, and he appeared to have Captain Chris on the stretch a little going towards the end of the back straight. However, Captain Chris moved up easily enough to join the leader on the outside going around the home turn, took it up on the run to the second last, jumped that flight a length in front and came away between the last two, popping over the last and coming clear for a ready win.

Captain Chris is a really likeable sort. A £250,000 purchase as a three-year-old, he is by Menorah’s sire King’s Theatre out of Function Dream, a high class mare for Mary Reveley who was effective from two miles to three miles. He shaped with a deal of encouragement on his racecourse debut in a bumper at Kempton in February, and then posted a most impressive win in a maiden hurdle back at Kempton earlier this month, beating a 120-rated horse of Alison Thorpe’s, Spent. This was another step forward from Philip Hobbs’s gelding.

Rollwiththepunches is a really useful performer. He looked good in winning at Huntingdon, and that race is working out really well, with the runner-up Rackham Lerouge winning on his subsequent start, and the sixth horse Qaspal winning his next three starts, including the Imperial Cup at Sandown on his latest run, off a mark of 124. The front two had the race between them from a long way out, and they finished clear of the third horse Tricky Tree.

Captain Chris is a really exciting prospect now. Undoubtedly a staying chaser in the making, he will be an exciting novice chaser for next season, probably over further than this two-mile trip. In the meantime, if he does take his chance at Aintree, or if he makes the trip to Punchestown, where Philip Hobbs (whose horses remain in tremendous form) loves to have winners and runners, he will be of major interest.

23rd March 2010