Horses To Follow » Cois Farraig

Cois Farraig

There was a lot to like about Cois Farraig’s performance in winning what looked like a classy Grade 2 novices’ chase at Newbury on Friday. Dominic Elsworth just let him bowl along in front through the early stages and he jumped well, if a little to his right on occasion. He always travelled well though, and Elsworth was content to let Barry Geraghty go to the lead on the favourite Spirit River, after they took the water jump in front of the stands on the first circuit. The son of Karinga Bay jumped well again down the back, but the fall of the favourite at the 11th caused him to swerve badly and he was lucky not to come down at that fence. The race looked set up for Celestial Halo from here, after Paul Nicholls’s horse moved to the front as they began to take the turn, but that rival’s jumping went to pieces in the closing stages, and a good jump at the fourth last allowed Cois Farraig get back in front. He was under pressure early in the straight but he jumped the last three fences really well, and he always had the measure of On Borrowed Wings.

This race is usually a good producer of top chasers, with the likes of Denman and Bacchanal winning it in recent years. This year’s renewal was perceived as a match beforehand, between Spirit River and Celestial Halo, and because of the fall of the former and indifferent jumping of the latter, Cois Farraig’s performance in winning the race could be under-rated coming out of this. He jumped really well, travelled well for most of the race and then really picked up well when he came under pressure in the straight. He had shown promise on his previous run, his seasonal and chasing debut, he travelled and jumped well before he probably just blew up on his seasonal debut. But he was really good here, he seemed to appreciate this galloping track, and he just jumped and galloped his rivals ragged.

A natural progression would be the Feltham at Kempton on St Stephens’s day, and that could be the race for Paul Webber’s horse. He is a half-brother to a winner over three miles, he won a point-to-point, so three miles should be well within his compass, and the right-handed track there should suit his jumping better. He is still just five, he has run in just two chases and he has significant scope for progression.

26th November 2010