Past Winners » Pandorama


I think that Pandorama is a fair bit over-priced here. Noel Meade’s gelding is still a potentially top class staying chaser, despite the fact that he put up such a dreadful display in the Hennessy at Newbury last month when we had him on side. All of the reasons for believing that he has the potential to go right to the top over fences hold true, he was a top class staying novice hurdler and a top class staying novice chaser last season, he is only seven, he has run just four times over fences in his life, and he has massive scope for progression. Crucially, the ground is going to be really testing today, and that is going to suit him well.

Of course, it is not ideal that he is going into this race on the back of such a disappointing run in the Hennessy, but we know for sure that that wasn’t his true running, he made a terrible mistake at the second fence, and then two horses fell in front of him at the fourth, effectively ending his chance. On the plus side, he didn’t have a hard race, he was pulled up before they had gone a mile.

There are a couple of more plusses as well, as well as the ground, which is a massive plus. For starters, he is racing over the course and distance over which he won the Fort Leney Chase last year, when he beat Weapon’s Amnesty by a short head. The ground was faster than ideal for him that day, but he always travelled like the most likely winner, and he battled on well up the run-in after being out-jumped at the last to get back up and beat Weapon’s Amnesty, who went on to win the RSA Chase last March. Interestingly, he clocked a time that was over 10 seconds faster than the time that What A Friend clocked when he won the Lexus Chase over the same course and distance the following day. Admittedly, the ground was softer the following day, but only slightly, and it wasn’t soft enough to effect a 10-second difference over three miles.

Leopardstown suits Pandorama, a galloping track with a stiff finish, especially when the ground is soft, we know that he is good at this time of year, and Meade reports him in good form, not held up that much by the freeze. This race has always been on his agenda, and it has been his target since the Hennessy. As long as he can get into a rhythm early on, he has a big chance, and he is well worth backing at 7/1.

I am happy to take on a couple of those at the head of the market. I can’t understand why Cooldine is favourite. He may well win, but he is a horse that the bookmakers always seem to want to keep on side, but he should be a fair bit bigger than he is in my book, he hasn’t won since he won the RSA Chase at Cheltenham in 2009, and he cut out fairly tamely, admittedly after setting too sedate a pace, in the Durkan Chase at Fairyhouse last time. Things haven’t really gone his way since that RSA Chase, and he could potentially be a Gold Cup horse this season for sure if he did bounce back, but we are still waiting for him to do so, and for now he is a take-on job at the prices.