Horses To Follow » Hidden Keel

Hidden Keel

Hidden Keel marked himself down as a horse to follow in no uncertain terms with a bloodless win in a two-mile-five-furlong novice chase at Leicester last Monday.

He took it up early, jumped fluently and went on to win as he liked. He raced with enthusiasm throughout, putting it up to his rivals from a long way out. Paddy Brennan gave him a breather at the end of the back straight before he wound it up swinging into the home turn. He accelerated into the fourth last and actually did well to stay up as he hit the top of the fence quite hard. He was much better at the third last though where it was the turn of his nearest rival, the favourite Great Reason, to blunder and that effectively ended the contest as Hidden Keel powered on in front and was able to just coast home over the last quarter of a mile. The winning distance of eight lengths could easily have been trebled.

The eventual runner-up Fredo had some good form in the book over fences already, having finished second to the ill-fated Tell Massini on his debut at Stratford and then having given the high class Master Of The Hall a race at Ascot last time, but he was blown away here. Great Reason who finished back in third appeared to be legless over the last couple of fences, such was the pace Hidden Keel had made them go.

The Charlie Longsdon-trained gelding has an attractive profile, with huge scope for progression over fences. He just got came off worst with Tarablaze after the last in a match at Exeter on his chasing debut (the winner was a Grade 2 winner over hurdles and already had experience over fences). But he seems to have really strengthened up over the summer and has returned this term an improved horse. That is now four good runs on the bounce – he won a handicap hurdle at Stratford on his return off a mark of 118, then ran a good race in a big field handicap at Cheltenham behind the very well handicapped Grands Crus before switched to chasing. He is a galloper who should get further and is well suited by being held up on good ground on a galloping track, and he is an exciting prospect.

4th January 2011