Horses To Follow » Medermit


Not very original, but Medermit put up a really impressive performance to land the Scilly Isles Chase at Sandown on Saturday, and it surprising that he is not clear favourite for the Arkle now that Alan King has confirmed that the two-mile contest is his Cheltenham Festival target. The son of Medaaly travelled really well through the race, his jumping was fast and accurate, he always seemed to be in the right position and everything seemed to come easily to him. He took it up off Mr Gardner rounding the home turn and, when that rival stumbled on landing over the second last, Medermit suddenly found himself four lengths clear. Captain Chris did give gallant chase up the run-in, but at no point did you think that the Philip Hobbs horse was going to catch him. You could argue that Medermit had the run of the race and that, had Captain Chris not been awkward and hampered at a couple of his fences, he would have won, but you just get the feeling that Medermit made his own luck. He had the class and the pace to travel with ease through the race and, if you were to run the race 10 times, he would have the run of the race each time.

The Arkle is the right race for him at the Festival for a number of reasons. Firstly, the alternative race, the Jewson, is a Grade 2 so, as well as the fact that it is not as valuable or as prestigious as the Arkle, there is also the fact that Medermit would have to carry a 7lb penalty in the race now as a Grade 1 winner. Secondly, the two-mile-five-furlong trip of the Jewson might just stretch Medermit’s stamina too far. He didn’t appear to want to go too much further than this two-and-a-half-mile trip even on Sandown’s park track. While the fact that he has won a Grade 1 race over two and a half miles is a huge asset in the context of the Arkle, which is almost always won by a horse who stays further than two miles, a fast-run two miles is probably his optimum.

The other element in his favour as an Arkle candidate is the fact that he was a classy hurdler. Unlike the RSA Chase, hurdles ratings have a huge bearing on the Arkle. Ten of the last 11 winners were rated 142 or more over hurdles. Of those towards the top of the Arkle betting, Medermit’s rating of 155 over hurdles is 9lb higher than Captain Chris’s, 13lb higher than Finian’s Rainbow’s, and a massive 20lb higher than Ghizao’s and Realt Dubh’s.

5th February 2011

© The Irish Field 12th February 2011