Horses To Follow » Bostons Angel

Bostons Angel

There is a chance that the performance that Bostons Angel put up in winning the Fort Leney Chase at Leopardstown on Tuesday has been under-valued, as often happens when a 14/1 shot wins a Grade 1 contest, and that the Jessica Harrington-trained gelding will consequently be under-rated going forward. Favourite Thegreatjohnbrowne never looked at his best in front and the well-backed Quito De La Roque made a mistake at a crucial stage in the race, got too far back turning for home and may have got up in another 50 yards but, actually, there was a lot to like about the performance that the winner put up. The son of Winged Love travelled well just behind a good pace, he jumped well, and he stayed on really well over the last fence and up the run-in to hold on by three parts of a length from Quito De La Roque. It was a truly-run race, and the time was only less than four seconds slower than the time that it took the potentially top class Pandorama to win the Lexus Chase, run over the same course and distance 70 minutes later.

This was the best performance that Bostons Angel has ever put up in his career, but there is every reason to believe that, rather than a flash in the pan, it was the next step in a progression that could continue now that he can be campaigned at his optimum conditions. Chasing is his game. Rated 140 over hurdles, just below top class, he jumps fences much more fluently than he jumped hurdles, he will almost certainly be a much better chaser than he was a hurdler, and he has every chance now of out-performing his hurdles mark by some way over fences. Also, he is all stamina. You can forgive him his penultimate run in the Drinmore Chase, he was apparently held up by the frost in the lead up to that contest, and that race was over just two and a half miles, he doesn’t appear to have that two-and-a-half-mile pace. This was much more like it, he is all about stamina. They did finish in a bit of a heap in the Fort Leney, there were less than five lengths between first and fifth, but Boston’s Angel was in front plenty early enough, and his trainer said afterwards that she thought he would have found more if another horse had challenged him.

He is not fashionable, but he is the exact stamina-laden type that you look for when you are looking for the RSA Chase winner. In that context, it is not ideal that he was pulled up in the Albert Bartlett Hurdle last March on his only visit to Cheltenham, but he was a 50/1 shot for that race, he didn’t jump well and he was pulled up before the second last. This is a good year for staying novice chasers, there are a couple of potentially top class horses hovering at the top of the tree, but 33/1 about Bostons Angel for the RSA Chase at this stage looks big. He is just rising seven, he has run just four times over fences, and he has huge scope for progression. The Fort Leney has been won by some top staying chasers in the past, including Pandorama last year, Gold Cup third Forget The Past, and Welsh National winner Notre Pere, while Weapon’s Amnesty was beaten a short head by Pandorama in the race last year before he went on to land the RSA Chase. Interestingly, Weapon’s Amnesty was rated only 7lb higher over hurdles than Bostons Angel.

28th December 2010

© The Irish Field, 1st January 2011