Horses To Follow » Mikael D’Haguenet

Mikael D’Haguenet

You can almost certainly forgive Mikael D’Haguenet for his disappointing run when a hot favourite for the Grade 1 two-mile-one-furlong Bord na Mona Novice Chase. The most likely situation was that two Grade 1 races in two weeks, returning from a gap of 593 days before the first of them, was just too much for the Willie Mullins-trained gelding. He travelled and jumped okay in about third throughout, but the writing was on the wall down the back straight when he started to jump out to his right and after a slow jump at the fourth last fence. He never got going after that, and it was fairly obvious that Paul Townend was saving him when he knew his chance had gone.

Despite going off at as short as 4/7, this was always going to be difficult for Mikael D’Haguenet in the circumstances and over a distance that was almost certainly too sharp. The son of Lavirco remains potentially one of the best staying novice chasers of the season. Some people seemed to have written him off after this, or at best written him down significantly, but he remains a classy individual and he will be very interesting again next time out. The reaction of bookmakers was to ease him out to 16/1 for the RSA Chase, and that may have been a significant over-reaction. He does have the Arkle as an option at Cheltenham, but you have to think that the RSA Chase is the race for him.

30th December 2010