Horses To Follow » Wayward Prince

Wayward Prince

Wayward Prince travelled with his customary ease through the Ultima Frontrunner In IT Solutions Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday over the extended three miles. Common consensus is that Chicago Grey would have beaten him though if that one hadn’t fallen at the second last, but rider Dougie Costello said afterwards that Wayward Prince was just idling and would have found plenty had Chicago Grey stood up. Judged by the way he stayed on to win the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree last year, and the way he fought off Aberdale on his chase debut at Huntingdon, we have to give some credence to this assertion.

Costello had Wayward Prince out wide the whole way, presumably looking for some better ground. The tacky ground wouldn’t have suited him according to his trainer; while he does act on soft, he seems better on a livelier surface. Given this, and that it was just his second start over fences, he jumped perfectly well enough. While he may not have looked that impressive, he will be much better suited to coming off a faster pace (as he did at Aintree) given that he has such a high cruising speed.

This was a very good race for this stage of the season, and the form is solid. Cannington Brook was beaten a similar margin by Wayward Prince at Aintree over hurdles on his previous start, and Albert Bartlett winner Berties Dream was comprehensively beaten here. It would have been very interesting to see what would have happened if Chicago Grey hadn’t crashed out. As Gordon Elliott’s gelding is rated 145 and still improving over fences, and we assume the two would have finished close together, that puts Wayward Prince right up there in terms of the top staying novice chasers for the season as he has a good deal of scope over fences, especially on better ground. He is likely to be campaigned in a similar way to stable mate Weird Al last year, so may be back to Cheltenham for the December meeting next, with the RSA chase being the ultimate aim. He has to be on your RSA shortlist at this stage, and he may be under-rated on the back of this performance.

13th November 2010