Horses To Follow » Tornado Bob

Tornado Bob

Tornado Bob lost nothing in defeat to Sonofvic, the pair of them pulling well clear of some talented rivals, in what looked like a high class two-and-a-half-mile novice hurdle at Ascot on Saturday. Donald McCain’s gelding was probably a bit unlucky in the end. He travelled and hurdled well throughout the race, just in behind the decent pace set by Synthe Davis. He took it up just before the third last and by the time they reached the straight, it was only Paul Nicholls’s horse that could go with him. The pair were locked together from the beginning of the straight, but Tornado Bob was out in the centre of the track while Sonofvic had the assistance of the near rail. They were still head to head before the last, but it was here where Tornado Bob made a bad mistake, and then stumbled again soon after the flight, ultimately giving up his chance. He fought back again but Sonofvic was not for catching on the run in, and the pair finished 27 lengths clear of their field.

This race was won by the talented Finian’s Rainbow last year, and it looked like another decent event this season, run at a decent gallop and with the front pair pulling clear. Sonofvic travelled and jumped well here on this only his second ever run, he is also an exciting prospect, but things may have just gone his way a little, whereas Tornado Bob can be marked up at least a little for his effort. It would have been interesting had Tornado Bob not made that significant error at the last and it is also worth noting that Donald McCain’s gelding was probably also inconvenienced by racing closer to the fast pace than Sonofvic, who came from further back in the field.

On his previous run Tornado Bob followed up a good maiden win at Uttoxeter, where he beat the useful Philip Hobbs-trained Herdsman, by defying a 7lb penalty in a novice hurdle at Leicester, with both wins coming on soft ground. He is another Grahame and Diana Whateley-owned horse and, like a lot of their good ones, he is an import from Ireland. His last win in Ireland for Eoin Doyle came on quick ground in a bumper in Cork, so he should not be inconvenienced if connections decide to send him to Cheltenham, where the Neptune Hurdle would apparently be the target. He will be of interest if he does line up in the Neptune – he was already rated 143 going into this race, and he is highly progressive, so he should be able to at least hold his own in top class races – but it may not be until next season over fences that we see the best of him.

19th February 2011