Horses To Follow » Wishfull Thinking

Wishfull Thinking

There was a lot to like about the effort of Wishfull Thinking in what was a decent but eventful two-mile-five-furlong novice chase at Cheltenham on Friday. They went at a fairly decent pace early on, with Othermix and Rebel Du Maquis taking each other on up front in the early stages, and Richard Johnson was just happy to let Wishfull Thinking track the pace back in third. The son of Alflora jumped and travelled okay, but he was severely hampered at the water jump, the first fence they took down the back, when Othermix fell into his path, and he did extremely well to stay up, although it caused him to be virtually brought to a standstill. He recovered well to get back into the race, and even after a mistake at the last fence down the back, he still travelled well down the hill, to give chase to Rebel Du Maquis, who had a healthy lead travelling into the straight. The leader tired however, and it was evident that Reve De Sivola and Wishfull Thinking would get to him over the last two fences, which they did, with the former just quickening up the better up the hill.

Given that he lost all momentum after being badly hampered by the fall of Othermix at the water jump, this was a cracking effort from Wishfull Thinking. It was a fairly strange race, with only three finishers, and Rebel Du Maquis going for home from a long way out after being left in front after the fall of Othermix. Paul Nicholls’s horse just died going up the hill, and although Wishfull Thinking looked the most likely to catch him going down the hill, the interference he suffered earlier had to have taken a lot out of him. He was still only beaten a length by Reve De Sivola, and Nick Williams’s horse is a dual Grade 1 winner over hurdles.

Wishfull Thinking was a useful hurdler as well, if not quite up to Grade 1 standard, last season. He did beat the now 158-rated Grands Clus by seven lengths, giving weight away in a novice hurdle at Taunton, before going on to the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival, where he was a bit unlucky to fall at the second-last when still well in contention.

This was only his third start over fences and it is probable that there will be a lot more to come from him. He was a faller on his debut over fences, and he made a few mistakes when running out a fortunate winner of a Grade 2 novice chase at Wincanton last time, so his jumping should improve with more experience. He should be worth following, even though he is likely to be on many radars for now, as obviously unlucky-looking losers tend to be.

10th December 2010