Horses To Follow » Knighton Combe

Knighton Combe

Knighton Combe ran well for a long way in a two-mile-fix-furlong novices’ hurdle at Folkestone on Tuesday and he should be spot on for his next run now. He was making his seasonal debut and reappearing after a 311-day absence for his trainer Jamie Snowden here, but he travelled fairly well through the race, just in behind the leaders. He took up a more prominent position on the second circuit and he was well-placed to produce his challenge before the second last, where he improved up between runners to land in the lead after taking the flight. He just got a bit tired on the run in and Carpincho, who had had a couple of runs already this season, ended up outstaying him with relative ease in the end, which was understandable in the circumstances.

Although Jamie Snowden’s horse is an 11-year-old, he showed here that he retains most of his ability and he could be an interesting proposition next time after this effort. His age gives him an unprogressive profile, but he has actually only raced 13 times under Rules in his career, and the way he ran here having been off the track for so long should provides plenty of promise. He travelled really well, jumped his hurdles well – this was his first ever run over hurdles – and he looked to have beaten off all bar the winner going to the last. He did get tired on the run in and ended up getting closed down for second late on, but that was more than understandable and he should be a fitter horse next time now with this run under his belt.

He should be spot on for another handicap chase now – his record in handicap chases reads 1611323 – and a mark of 127 looks fair enough, just 4lb higher than his last winning mark which he achieved for winning a decent handicap chase at Newbury last December. He should improve back over fences, he should improve for a longer distance and for better ground. He is in the Royal Artillery Gold Cup at Sandown next Friday, and he would be of interest if he lined up in that as long as the ground isn’t too soft. Later in the season, he will be of even greater interest if he lines up in a handicap chase over even further than three miles on goodish ground, ideally at a galloping track or specifically at Newbury, where he has put up the two best performances of his career.

1st February 2011