Horses To Follow » Notre Pere

Notre Pere

Notre Pere put in a nice effort on his seasonal debut to finish second to Glencove Marina in a two-mile-and-six-furlong listed chase at Thurles on Thursday. He settled into second place after the first fence, just tracking the pace set by Rare Bob in the early stages. He jumped well enough throughout, but for a few slight mistakes down the back on both circuits, and he was still there with a chance four fences from home. Andrew Lynch just had to push him along slightly to keep up with Rare Bob and the improving Glencove Marina, but a poor jump at the third-last left him adrift of that pair and his winning chance looked to have gone. He did keep at it, however, and his stamina eventually came into play up the straight, where a good jump at the last allowed him to grab second off Rare Bob, and he was actually only beaten by four lengths in the end.

It seems a long time ago, but it was only this time last year that Notre Pere was a short-priced favourite for the Grade 1 Champion Chase at Down Royal. Things obviously didn’t work out for him there (he fell at the fifth last), nor for most of last season thereafter, but this was a most encouraging effort on his seasonal debut. Glencove Marina and Rare Bob are two high class horses, the former also had the benefit of race-fitness coming into this and this trip was a wholly inadequate test for Jim Dreaper’s horse. He will be better next time back over three miles or further and with the benefit of added fitness from this run.

You have to put a line through most of his form from last season, but he could still be high-class over marathon on his favoured soft ground. He was a most impressive winner of in the Guinness Gold Cup at Punchestown two seasons ago on heavy ground, and there is a chance that he could get back to near his best this season, judged on this promising effort. It’s also worth noting that he could be well-handicapped again, now back on a mark of 152, 15lb lower than he was this time last year and on the same mark off which he won the Welsh National. He will be of interest if he takes his chance in the Becher Chase at Aintree on 21st November, especially if the ground comes up soft, as it often does for that race. He is just the type of big strapping chaser who could take to the Aintree fences really well.

4th November 2010