Horses To Follow » Finian’s Rainbow

Finian’s Rainbow

Finian’s Rainbow travelled like a specialist two-miler through the Arkle. Allowed to stride on with the two early leaders, his jumping was very quick, much better than it had been at Warwick the time before when they tried to hold him up behind horses. He took it up coming to the seventh and had the majority of his rivals under pressure soon after, including the eventual winner Captain Chris and the favourite Medermit who was a close second in his Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2009 and who had held his own against the top two-mile hurdlers for most of last season. Barry Geraghty’s mount put in a great leap at the third last and went a few lengths up on the field running down to the turn in. Richard Johnson was all out on Captain Chris from that point and he eventually stayed on and took Finian’s Rainbow’s measure soon after the last, but the runner-up did not fold up the hill and comes out of the race with huge credit in going down by less than three lengths to a horse who has now really got his act together over fences and who could very well go on and prove to be top class. There were six lengths back to the third horse.

This was only Finian’s Rainbow’s third defeat in nine lifetime starts, and the two before both came in the biggest tests of stamina he has faced, the first when outstayed after the last in the Challow Hurdle at Newbury and similarly in the Neptune at the Festival last year where he travelled like the best horse in the race to the second last, in a race that was won by this year’s Champion Hurdle runner-up Peddlers Cross. He is lightly raced for an eight-year-old and is still strengthening and progressing; he could very easily be a big player in the top two-mile events next season, especially with Master Minded still struggling to recapture anything near his best form. Sizing Europe will be 10 next March and Big Zeb will be 11. In the shorter term he should be a player at Aintree as well as that track could suit his free-going style better than Cheltenham, although Nicky Henderson’s record at Aintree would be a slight concern.

15th March 2011