Horses To Follow » Flat Out

Flat Out

Flat Out put up a really nice display on his chasing debut to land a two-and-a-half-mile beginners’ chase at Punchestown last Saturday. Sent to the front from flagfall by Emmet Mullins, his jumping was impressive for a debutant, and he had the race in the bag long before he turned for home. Indeed, the only real scare that his supporters had was at the final fence, which he got all wrong and could easily have come down. In fact, it was to his credit that he found a leg, and the incident may not have been a bad thing, it may have taught him a little about the need to concentrate. In fairness, he had been out on his own for a long time, so you can forgive him one lapse.

As well as the visual impression of this performance, the substance of it is strong. Willie Mullins’s gelding finished 13 lengths clear of Ad Idem, a good staying novice hurdler last season, who put up a career-best when he got to within a length and a quarter of Quito De La Roque, in receipt of just 2lb, in a good three-mile novices’ handicap hurdle at the Fairyhouse Easter Festival, and Ad Idem was 20 lengths clear of the third horse. Also, the time was good, almost bang on Racing Post par and over three seconds faster than the time in which the handicap chase was run over the same course and distance a half an hour later, despite the fact that Flat Out made that bad mistake at the last and that his rider hardly even shook the reins at him.

The son of Sagamix is a really exciting chasing prospect now. A dual bumper winner last term, he finished fifth in what is increasingly looking like a hot renewal of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last March on just his second ever run over hurdles. He is still only six, he has huge scope for progression, he jumps fences well, and the fact that he handled the rigours of the Cheltenham Festival last March augurs well for a possible tilt at the Arkle this term. His best form is on soft ground, hardly surprising for a son of Sagamix, but he has proven that he handles good ground as well, and the fact that he has won over two and a half miles now is no burden for an Arkle contender to carry.

8th January 2011

© The Irish Field, 15th January 2011