Horses To Follow » Jessies Dream

Jessies Dream

Jessies Dream put up a really nice performance to win a hot beginners’ chase at Galway on Monday. He did make a mistake at the first fence, the fence past the stands, and another at the same fence on the second circuit, but apart from that he jumped very well. He met most of the other obstacles in his stride, and he was fast and accurate over them, often gaining ground in the air. Held up just behind the front rank by Davy Condon in the early stages, he always had his main market rivals Venalmar and Berties Dream in his sights. He travelled easily down the back straight, moved up in behind the leaders over the last two fences in the dip, got up on the inside of Venalmar around the home turn, in behind Berties Dream, but travelling by far the best of the trio. He picked up well when Condon asked him to off the home turn and quickly went a couple of lengths clear. It is a long pull up to the line from the home turn at Galway, and Jessies Dream was running for the first time in 186 days, so it looked a little ominous when Corskeagh Royale made ground on the far side, but Jessies Dream found plenty in front, and stayed on really well up the hill to win well.

There were several things to like about this performance. For starters, it was a really good beginners’ chase. Berties Dream was winning the Albert Bartlett Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March the last time we saw him, while Venalmar, beaten a neck by Fiveforthree in the 2008 Ballymore Properties Hurdle, ran really well to finish third behind Realt Dubh and Sweeps Hill in a beginners’ chase at Navan four weeks previously on his seasonal debut. Furthermore, there was plenty of market strength behind Venalmar, who is owned by Michael O’Flynn and trained by Mouse Morris, the connections who won this race last year with a similarly classy staying novice hurdler in China Rock. Secondly, there was the manner in which Jessies Dream travelled and jumped, and battled gamely up the hill. Thirdly, it was good just to get back on track over fences.

It didn’t quite happen for the Gordon Elliott-trained gelding last season over the larger obstacles, he fell at the second last when in with every chance in the beginners’ chase that Zaarito won at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival, he didn’t jump as well as his more experienced rivals when pitched into Grade 2 class against Roberto Goldback and China Rock and the like back at Leopardstown at the end of January. Off the track after that for three months, he wasn’t at all disgraced behind Quevega in the World Series Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival, his trainer obviously intent on keeping his novice status over fences intact for this season.

He is an exciting novice now. While he raced just twice over fences last season, he will have an edge in terms of experience over fences over his rivals, especially in the early part of the season, given that he will have been schooled over fences for longer. Winner of a point-to-point for Paul Cashman, and of a bumper and two novice hurdles for Willie Mullins, he has always been highly regarded. Monday’s race was over two miles and six furlongs, and he stayed it well on his seasonal debut, so he should stay three miles later in the season. Significantly, his trainer’s assistant Bobby McNally said afterwards that he was only half-fit on Monday. Now owned by David Johnson, the Drinmore Chase at Fairyhouse at the end of November is the obvious medium-range target for him. In the longer term, the RSA Chase is the obvious objective for the season, and he could prove to be one of the top staying novice chasers this season.

25th October 2010

© The Irish Field, 30th October 2010