Horses To Follow » Mon Parrain

Mon Parrain

Mon Parrain put up a really likeable performance on his British debut at Sandown on the Saturday before Cheltenham. He jumped superbly, barely touching a twig the whole way round, meeting almost all the fences on a perfect stride and even when he got in too tight, as he did at the open ditch in front of the stands, he was nimble in clearing it. Ruby Walsh jumped him off in about fifth place but he constantly jumped past Sarde and Circus Of Dreams and moved into a clear third after the Railway fences on the first circuit, ears pricked, seemingly thoroughly enjoying himself round Sandown’s tough jumping test. He cruised up to long-time leader Appleaday approaching the Pond Fence, the third last, and never came off the bridle to go clear in the straight. He got in slightly too tight to the second last but was quickly away from it and he jumped the last superbly to win completely unextended.

They went a good pace throughout here and that undoubtedly helped Mon Parrain to settle, and the manner of victory was exaggerated by the race rather falling apart around him, Circus Of Dreams for instance ran on for third having threatened to tail himself off going over the Railway fences on the second circuit, and to that end the second horse Appleaday has probably put up a good performance in beating all the others given the way he raced.

Mon Parrain’s was very weak in the market beforehand, and it seemed to surprise his trainer who thought he might just need the run, yet he could hardly have been more impressive. He stayed this three-mile trip well on his first attempt over it, which is significant given that the longest trip over which he won in France when trained by Guillame Macaire was two and a quarter miles, and he failed to win in three starts when upped to two miles five, although all three were good contests. He handled this good ground well, he is only five and he is a very exciting horse. The handicapper raised him 16lb to a mark of 149, but that may not be enough to halt his progress. He is in the Bet365 Gold Cup back at Sandown at the end of April, and he would be of interest if he took his chance in that, although you feel that he will prove to be much better than a handicapper.

12th March 2011