Horses To Follow » Loosen My Load

Loosen My Load

Loosen My Load put up a really impressive performance in winning a two-mile-three-furlong conditions chase at Listowel last Friday. His task was admittedly made easier when Deutschland was scratched, but this was still a step up into the unknown for the Henry de Bromhead-trained gelding, taking on good experienced chasers like Schlem and Emmpat, and he beat them well. In one sense, he did it the hard way, out in front from flagfall, but it did mean that he had a clear sight of his fences, and his jumping was good. Actually, with the exception of a slight mistake at the second last, which looked worse than it really was because of the flying gorse, it was pretty much flawless. If you really wanted to pick holes, you would point to the fact that he was a little out to his right on occasion, but it was probably accentuated by the fact that Listowel is a tight left-handed track, and by the fact that he was out in front and didn’t have another horse to chase. It would be very harsh anyway on a horse who was having just his second ever run over fences.

The Cheltenham Festival is a long way off, but it is difficult not to at least begin to think in terms of the Arkle Trophy for Loosen My Load. His trainer proved last year with Sizing Europe that he knows how to prepare one for the Arkle, and it may not be insignificant that Loosen My Load won the same novices’ chase at Punchestown last May that Sizing Europe won in 2009. It makes a lot of sense for a young chaser, to allow him get one chase under his girth at the end of the season, after the deadline for novice status has passed, and then give him a summer off and bring him back in the autumn. It just gives him a little edge in terms of experience over his fellow novices.

De Bromhead is now talking about the Buck House Chase at Punchestown next month – another race that Sizing Europe won – for Loosen My Load before perhaps allowing him take his chance in the Independent Newspapers Chase at Cheltenham’s November meeting, a race that is often a good pointer to the Arkle. He won the Grade 2 novices’ hurdle at Cheltenham’s November meeting last year, and the fact that he has proven that he can handle the undulations of Prestbury Park, albeit over hurdles, is an asset to him as an Arkle contender. So is the fact that he achieved a rating of 137 over hurdles, even though he raced just five times over the smaller obstacles. He is only six years old, and he is a hugely exciting prospect for the season ahead.

16th September 2010

© The Irish Field, 25th September 2010