Horses To Follow » That’lldoboy


Despite being beaten off a mark of 107 on his chasing and seasonal debut at the end of October, That’lldoboy has now won his next two and looks a most progressive horse. He seemed to improve for the application of blinkers when winning at Wincanton at the start of November, taking up the running two out and running on well to the line, but it was his latest victory, in a Class 3 handicap chase at Newbury on Thursday, that marks him down as a horse to follow. He had to prove that he could back up the Wincanton win, and that the blinkers would have the same effect second time, but he proved that he is progressing quickly with an even better effort.

He was a little keen early tracking the leaders through, and he was partially unsighted at the first fence, doing well to get over it as he did. He settled much better up the home straight first time, and he was taken wide by Daryl Jacob down the back straight as there was some ragged jumping going on around him. He made good progress as they neared the end of the back straight, jumping into second at the cross fence, five from home. He didn’t jump the fourth last with complete fluency but was still on the bridle on landing and it soon became apparent that both he and Zarrafakt, who came there on his outside, had the long time leader, last year’s winner of the race Buffalo Bob, covered and would fight out the finish.

That’lldoboy had a two-length lead coming to the last, and he came up well at it, seeing a big stride, but was a little out to his left and Zarrafakt jumped it running and set off after him up the run-in. Zarrafakt laid down a really stern challenge on the run to the line, but That’lldoboy pulled out just enough to prevail by a diminishing head. Paul Nicholls’s horse impressed with his attitude here in holding on for victory having been in front for a fair while and having had to be straightened up on landing over the last. Zarrafakt is very good on his seasonal debut and was really well backed, hailing from a bang in form yard. The pair of them quickly came clear of the field, finishing 23 lengths in front of the doughty Buffalo Bob, with further wide margins back to all the others.

That’lldoboy seems to have improved for blinkers, but he is only five and it is probably unfair to attribute his progress solely to the application of the headgear, he just looks to be thriving at present, and should be able to progress again from here. He always seemed to be travelling best when he won at Wincanton and that was the case again here, so it is highly encouraging how well he saw out this race on the step up in trip to two miles and six and a half furlongs. This opens up more options for him; this it was a well-run race. The handicapper has raised him 9lb for this, but a mark of 123 could still under-estimate his rate of progression.

24th November 2011