Horses To Follow » Penny’s Bill

Penny’s Bill

It would have been interesting to see how Penny’s Bill would have fared had he not been brought down at the second last fence, in what looked like a competitive two-mile-three-furlong handicap chase at Leopardstown on Sunday. Elizabeth Doyle’s gelding was reappearing here after a 194-day absence, but he travelled really well for Sean Flanagan, in around eighth position of the 16-runner field. He was always on the outside of runners, but his jumping was good and he moved into contention as they neared the end of the back straight. He put in another good jump at the third last, and he was beginning to respond to a brief call by Flanagan to go after the leaders when he just seemed to stumble on the turn. He recovered okay but he was brought down at the next fence, the second last, as Arklow Ger fell right in front of him. He was still going well at the time and he can be counted unlucky enough.

It may have proved that the challenge of Penny’s Bill would have ended up flattening out up the straight, but he appeared to be still going, and this was a more than satisfactory effort on effectively his seasonal debut. The 2009 Pierse Hurdle winner, he has an interesting profile over fences now. He finished a really good second to the now 147-rated Let Yourself Go on his first start over fences at Ballinrobe in August 2009, and he won his beginners’ chase in good style at Limerick last May. He was pulled up when favourite for a novices’ contest at Killarney in July, but he burst a blood vessel there so you can easily forgive him that. This was actually only his fifth start over the larger obstacles, so it is conceivable that there is more improvement to come, and that he can out-perform his current rating of 123. He will probably be better on better ground and he seems to stay two and a half miles well, so he will be interesting in a decent handicap chase later in the spring as the ground gets better.

23rd January 2011