Horses To Follow » Pere Blanc

Pere Blanc

David Arbuthnot’s Pere Blanc improved markedly for the step up to two miles and five furlongs when running away with a novices’ handicap hurdle at Kempton last Friday. Settled just off the leaders, his jumping was very fluent, taking him closer up the straight for the first time. He continued to travel well and he joined the leader Nobby Kivambo at the last down the back straight before going on as they took the turn. Russian Epic and Original Prankster tried to go with him, both travelling well enough in their own right, but as soon as Daryl Jacob let out an inch of rain on Pere Blanc the jockeys on the two behind were soon scrubbing along. The winner was able to simply coast up the straight to a 15-length win, winging the last two flights in the process.

There was a change of tactics on Pere Blanc here for the step up in trip and his handicap debut. Having been well held up for his three runs in novice hurdles and never getting competitive, he was bounced out fairly prominent here and raced with much more enthusiasm. He is from a family the trainer knows well and really impressed with his fluent jumping.

A mark of 95 was obviously very lenient in hindsight on his handicap debut, and clearly everything was set up for a big run from him. Such was his authority, it is impossible to tell how much he has in hand; the handicapper’s assessment (25lb rise) is a little on the severe side but is really a total guess.

He went on to win at Sandown on Saturday under a penalty, when he was 18lb well-in, a race that has been won recently by Silk Affair, who went on to win the Fred Winter on her subsequent start, and by Qaspal, who went on to win the Imperial Cup. Pere Blanc will obviously find life tougher now off a mark of 125, 30lb higher than his Kempton mark, but he is only six, he has run just five times over hurdles, and he will be interesting now stepped up in grade.

11th February 2011