Horses To Follow » Minella Four Star

Minella Four Star

Minella Four Star put up a cracking performance to beat all bar Blazing Bailey, just getting touched off by Alan King’s horse, in a valuable three-and-a-half-mile handicap chase at Ffos Las on Saturday. Tom Scudamore was anxious to get to the head proceedings from start and, after landing in front over the first fence, the son of Bob Back jumped and travelled really well in front. Only the favourite Adams Island came out of the pack to challenge him for the lead as they went out on their second circuit but when that runner blundered the sixth last, David Pipe’s horse was in front on his own again and still travelling well coming out of the back straight. He was the only horse still yet to be asked a question as they turned into the straight and headed to the fourth last fence. Scudamore got busy on him after they took that fence, but he looked to have beaten all his rivals off on the way to the last, only for Blazing Bailey to put in a really good jump there and just outstay him on the run in.

This was still a really good performance from Minella Four Star, on his first run in 223 days here. It will be interesting to see where David Pipe goes with him now. It is probable that the trainer has kept him for this time of year in the hope that they can get better ground for him and even at that, the ground may have even been too soft for him here, which makes his run all the more commendable. He was last seen in the Summer National at Uttoxeter back in June last year, where he put up another really good performance to finish fourth, beaten only three lengths by the Emma Lavelle-trained Ouzbeck. That was the first race in which they decided to allow him make the running, and those tactics seemed to have brought about significant improvement as he really seemed to enjoy himself in front here again. He will be interesting back over a marathon trip on better ground, which he should get coming into the spring now. He is only eight, and a 3lb hike for this run is not harsh.

5th February 2011