Horses To Follow » First Point

First Point

First Point really took the eye in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton on Saturday. On a day when Nicky Henderson’s horses were red hot, it was slightly disappointing that this one ended up getting beat over 10 lengths into fourth having travelled best of all to the home turn. He had raced very wide throughout though, and this two-mile-five-furlong trip just stretched his stamina beyond its limit.

He was settled right on the outside of the 19-strong field, and had to take action to avoid Bygones Of Brid when that one unseated AP McCoy down the back. He came there travelling well, still very wide, into the straight but was messed around when Organisateur veered badly left at the second last and was badly hampered between that one and the winner James De Vassy. That scrimmaging led to him putting in an untidy jump at that obstacle and it was clear that he had run out of puff. He seemed to have nothing more to give coming to the last but did muster up the effort to get past the bold-showing Quartx De Thaix on the run-in.

This was just his second start of the season, his first being a good third-placed finish in a competitive two-mile handicap chase at Newbury at the end of November behind his very well handicapped and back-to-form stablemate Aigle D’Or. He has always run well when fresh before, and he has travelled into both his races this term very well, he just found two better-handicapped horses on his return (he himself finished ahead of a very easy subsequent winner in Call Me A Legend) and he would surely have gone very close here if his stamina had held out.

He has struggled somewhat over fences (his return this season aside) as he is not overly big and does seem more convincing over hurdles. He is very feasibly handicapped under both codes on a mark of 138, however, and will be interesting now dropped back down in trip, especially as this Henderson purple patch seems to be showing no signs of ending any time soon. He would be interesting in one of the big two-mile handicap hurdles.

15th January 2011