Horses To Follow » Burton Port

Burton Port

With all the talk about the performance that Denman put in in defeat, and the performance that Diamond Harry put in in victory, there is a chance that Burton Port’s run to split the pair of them in Saturday’s Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury has gone a little under the radar. Actually, the Nicky Henderson-trained gelding has probably never got the recognition that he has been due. He spent all of last season as a novice chaser living in the shadows of his more high-profile stable companions and fellow novices Long Run and Punchestowns. Even after he finished second in the RSA Chase and won the Mildmay Chase at Aintree, he probably remained under the radar a little. He made a couple of jumping errors on Saturday, and he made a terrible mistake at the cross-fence, which really should have ended his challenge, but he stayed on remarkably determinedly over the last four fences to get to within a length of Diamond Harry at the line. The winner was always holding him, but he did pull 14 lengths clear of Denman, and the winning time was hugely impressive. This was a massive run.

You have to have Burton Port on your shortlist for the Gold Cup now. His jumping is a little bit of a worry, he is a relatively small horse who has to jump out over his fences, but his jumping in the RSA Chase last season was more than acceptable. He never seemed to be in the right position in that race, he just got squeezed out of it at the top of the hill and had to race around the entire field on the run over the third last and second last just to get into a position from where he could mount a challenge, so again he did remarkable well to stay on to snatch second place behind Weapon’s Amnesty. He is just six years old, rising seven, an age at which these staying chasers can improve immeasurably. He is proven at Cheltenham, he is good on good ground, and the extra stamina test that the Gold Cup presents relative to the RSA Chase will be in his favour. Best odds of 16/1 about him for the Gold Cup are interesting.

27th November 2010

© The Irish Field, 4th December 2010