Horses To Follow » Montan


Montan did really well to get back up and beat Killultagh Queen in a decent two-mile-five-furlong beginners’ chase at Fairyhouse on Saturday. Tony Martin’s gelding travelled well throughout for Paul Carberry, held up in about mid division, never too far away from the leaders. He began to make good ground up to the leaders as they came down the hill down the back straight, and Carberry actually had to take a pull on him just before the straight. He was still travelling well on the way to the second last and after a fine jump at that fence, he landed in front and looked set to win well. But he jumped the last big and slowly and he allowed Killultagh Queen gain the initiative on the run-in. Willie Mullins’s mare traded as short as 1.05 on Betfair as she went a couple of lengths up under Paul Townend, but Montan responded for pressure having only come of the bridle 200 yards from the finish, he picked up impressively and was able to regain the lead just before the line.

It would have been an injustice had Montan got beaten, and given the way he travelled and jumped throughout, he can be marked down as an impressive winner of an above-average beginners’ chase. The runner-up Killultagh Queen looks like a talented sort and was representing the in-form Willie Mullins stable, while the third horse, the well-backed favourite Time Electric, had some decent form over hurdles and was only beaten two and a half lengths by Quito De La Roque in a beginners’ chase at Clonmel in December.

Montan should be able to build on this now. He is a only seven, and this was his first start over fences. He was a decent handicap hurdler – he ran better than his finishing position suggests in the MCR Hurdle on his previous start – but he could make up into a very nice chaser. It is interesting that his trainer thought enough of him to give him an entry in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham. He may not be up to that standard, but he will be interesting in a novice chase now and potentially in handicaps. Two and a half miles looks like his optimum, and he goes well on soft ground.

29th January 2011