Horses To Follow » Leamington Lad

Leamington Lad

Leamington Lad ran a nice race to finish second to a useful type in Lease Lend in a decent two-mile-five-furlong handicap chase at Haydock on Wednesday. Sent to the front on the outside from flagfall by Paddy Brennan, the Beckett gelding was a little ponderous over the first two fences, with the result that he never really had a chance of leading habitual front-runner Daldini, but Brennan seemed intent on racing handy and keeping his horse wide, so that he had plenty of daylight at his fences. He soon settled into a nice rhythm and jumped well, and he had taken over from Daldini by the time they jumped the first fence in the back straight.

He jumped really well down that part of the course, and appeared to have all his rivals on the stretch by the time they levelled up for home with the exception of Lease Lend, who had travelled well for Richie McGrath out the back throughout, and began to make his move on the home turn. A good jump at the second last saw Leamington Lad go three lengths clear, and he looked home for all money, but Lease Lend found plenty to take it up half way up the run-in and, try though Leamington Lad did, he could quite get back up and went down by a half a length in the end.

The front two should be worth following. The pair of them pulled clear of third-placed Camden George, who was backed as if connections felt that he was back to his best, 4lb lower than his last winning mark and with Graham Lee booked for him for the first time in his career, and Camden George was well clear of the rest of the field. Leamington Lad took a little while to settle into his rhythm, which was acceptable for a horse racing over fences for just the fifth time in his life, but he did impress with the manner in which he travelled and jumped, and he may just have caught a bit of a tartar in Lease Lend. Leamington Lad is just seven and was racing over fences for just the fifth time in his life.

On his previous run, he had got to within four lengths of Sunnyhillboy in a two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase at Ludlow, and that horse went and finished a close second to Great Endeavour in the Byrne Group Plate at the Cheltenham Festival last week off a 7lb higher mark. Leamington Lad was left on the same mark of 123 from Ludlow, and it almost certainly under-estimates his ability. He will probably get a couple of pounds for this now, but he has a progressive profile now, and he should be able to continue to improve over fences as he gains more practice. He handled this soft ground well, but he has good form on good ground, the Ludlow run was on good ground, so he is interesting now for the remainder of the season.

A slight drop back down in trip to two and a half miles, and the easier test that better ground would produce, should bring about further improvement, and he will be interesting wherever he goes next.

24th March 2010