Horses To Follow » Qhilimar


Qhilimar produced an eye-catching effort to finish fifth in a competitive three-mile handicap chase at Cheltenham on Friday. The Alan Jones-trained gelding raced on the outside of runners throughout and ended up losing lots of ground as a result. A measure of how much ground he lost on the turns can identified by the fact that he was disputing the lead racing away from the stands first time, travelling really well, and he was almost last by the time they straightened up in the back straight. As a result it was always going to be difficult to get into the race, especially off a slow gallop and he struggled to go with the leading group when the pace quickened down the hill. It looked like he was going to be well beaten at that stage, but he eventually picked up really well for his rider’s pressure and he began to stay on just before they turned into the straight. He came from a near impossible position to finish fifth, just held off for fourth place by Noun De La Tente and only five lengths off the winner Rustarix.

This was a highly promising run from the son of Ragmar and it should bring him on quite a bit. He came on a lot for his debut last season, when he was on the verge of running a big race in this same race before falling at the second last fence. He is a 13lb in the ratings now compared to then (the handicapper dropped him 1lb for this, which was an unexpected bonus), but he showed here that there could still be more to come. He travelled widest of all the whole way round and there was a lot to like about the way he stayed on up the hill. He should be better on softer ground and over further, his only win last season came in a handicap chase at Newbury over just short of three miles on soft ground, and he ran a cracker to finish a close-up fourth in the three-and-a-quarter-mile Blue Square Chase at Newbury in March also on soft ground. He is trained by relatively small time trainer in Alan Jones, so he could be under-rated next time. He is not lightly-raced, but he is still only six, there should be more improvement in him and he will be interesting when he turns out again.

12th November 2010