Horses To Follow » Crescent Island

Crescent Island

Crescent Island did remarkably well to finish fifth behind Quinz in the Racing Post Chase at Kempton on Saturday. A terrible mistake at the first fence, when he jumped markedly to his left and cannoned into Hey Big Spender, and which really should have knocked him out of the race, meant that he had to start again from the back of the field. He didn’t jump particularly well in rear, he was out to his left at a number of his fences, but he stayed in touch, and he ran on well up the home straight to finish fifth, albeit a distance behind the winner.

This was Crescent Island’s second run back after a long break. On his first run back, at Wetherby in early February, he was most impressive in landing a decent handicap chase, travelling like the most likely winner from a long way out and coming clear before idling, with the winning margin of three and a half lengths flattering the runner-up Regal Heights (who came out subsequently and ran well to finish second to Kim Muir hope Swing Bill) with the pair of them clear of Isn’t That Lucky. The handicapper gave him 9lb for that, but it still brought him up to a mark of 143, just 3lb higher than he was when he had last raced in April 2009. He has been dropped 2lb for Saturday’s run, back to a mark of 141, and that is attractive.

He was a good novice chaser two seasons ago, and it is significant that he put in the best performance of his career in the 2009 Jewson Chase at Cheltenham, when he finished third behind Chapoturgeon and the afore-mentioned Isn’t That Lucky. He proved on Saturday that he stays three miles well, and he would be interesting if returned to Cheltenham for the Spinal Research Chase (the old William Hill Chase) over three miles. It seems like he has been around for ages, but he is actually only eight years old and he has raced just 10 times over fences. His new mark of 141 could under-estimate his ability quite considerably. He will be much happier back on a left-handed track, he is proven at the Cheltenham Festival and, as a son of Presenting, he should be even better on the better ground that he should encounter at Cheltenham. He could be an interesting outsider in the race if he takes his chance.

26th February 2011

© The Irish Field, 5th March 2011