Horses To Follow » Rebel Du Maquis

Rebel Du Maquis

Rebel Du Maquis could be under-rated after his run in what was an eventful two-mile-five-furlong novice chase at Cheltenham on Friday. Paul Nicholls’s horse was in a battle up front with Othermix early on, the pair going very fast when dueling for the lead. Othermix just about won that battle, but his fall at the water jump, which brought down Radium and severely hampered Wishfull Thinking, left Rebel Du Maquis in front, and from here Harry Skelton decided to kick on. It looked as though the son of Brier Creek had built up an unassailable lead, he was around 15 lengths clear going down the hill and still had a healthy advantage on the turn for home, but it was tiring ground, as it can be when the frost covers come off, and he was caught by Wishfull Thinking and Reve De Sivola by the time he reached the final fence. He ended up finishing six lengths behind that pair, last of the three runners who finished, but this was still a noteworthy effort and he may well have won the race had things panned out differently.

Rebel Du Maquis had to carry a double penalty here, he was giving the winner 8lb, and it looked for a long way as if he would be able to defy the extra weight. But he just got tired up the hill on tiring ground, which was understandable after going fast with Othermix from early, and then kicking on from the water jump. He may well have won had Skelton held on to him longer. Although the fall of Othermix, which badly hampered Wishfull Thinking, probably weakened the form of the race, it was still a fairly classy affair with dual Grade 1 hurdle winner Reve De Sivola staying on best in the end, just outstaying Philip Hobbs’s useful sort in second.

This was only Rebel Du Maquis’s third start over fences and he should improve again. The handicapper has dropped him 2lb for this run, which is quite astonishing. Hopefully others will think similarly.

10th December 2010