Horses To Follow » Watch My Back

Watch My Back

Watch My Back ran an eye-catching race in the Red Rum Handicap chase at Aintree last week. The Ferdy Murphy-trained nine-year-old was in the rear of the field from the start. The pace was unrelenting up front, and increased again when Chaninbar took over down the back. Watch My Back never travelled with any great fluency and put in a couple of sloppy jumps, he had to be niggled along on several occasions during the race and looked to be struggling on the flat track. Graham Lee had Watch My Back still in last half way down the back straight, but there were plenty travelling worse than him, failing to cope with the frenetic pace. As they turned for home Chaninbar already looked the winner, but back in the pack Watch My Back was just beginning to stay on. He jumped the third last well and moved up to about fifth place coming to the second last, but he blundered there and unseated his rider. He wouldn’t have won, but the way he was staying on suggested that he would have finished third at least and possibly second. Despite never travelling, and jumping moderately, this was still a good effort from Watch My Back. He needed to be urged and pushed along, but he was staying on really well over an inadequate trip when his race was ended.

The son of Bob Back put in a nice performance at Cheltenham in October behind Poquelin over two and a half miles. He was hampered when he was about to challenge that day, but stayed on again to finish fifth. He then went to Doncaster and won impressively in a competitive race over a furlong shorter. He was disappointing on the face of it in the Byrne Group Plate, but that race was run at such frenetic pace, he could never really get into it. On top of that, Cheltenham probably isn’t his track. He seems to find it difficult to get into a rhythm over the undulations, and all his best form is on flat tracks. It was perhaps no surprise that he was struggling over the shorter trip on Thursday, given that they went very fast, but the way that he was staying on caught the eye, and he could be underrated next time as a result.

The Ferdy Murphy-trained gelding has shown good progress this year as a second season chaser. He was put up 10lb for his impressive win at Doncaster and he looks to still have a bit of improvement in him. He will be interesting when stepped back up in trip. He needs good ground and ideally a flat track, even though he did run well at Cheltenham in October. His current mark of 142 could still under-rate his ability given his right conditions – a flat track, good ground and two and a half miles.

8th April 2010