Horses To Follow » Ubi Ace

Ubi Ace

Ubi Ace did well to win the two-mile listed handicap hurdle at Sandown on Saturday as he was in the van throughout on tiring ground. He had settled on the heels of the leaders for the first half of the race, but Robert Walford moved him to the front as Tenor Nivernais and Enfant De Lune started to struggle at the end of the back straight. He was in front a long way from home and he looked like a sitting duck for some of the hold-up horses early in the home straight. Indeed, Edgardo Sol, Gibb River and Via Galilei all moved up looking like big threats at the second last, but Ubi Ace was really tough out in front and kept finding for his rider’s urgings to prevail by a neck from Via Galilei, who had been ridden out the back for much of the race. The front three – Gibb River was third – pulled clear of the rest from the second last, and Ubi Ace was simply not going to let the other two past, he was always doing just enough. Even at the pull-up, he was still a neck in front.

Tim Walford’s gelding is only five, he is lightly raced, this was just his fifth run over hurdles, and there was a lot to like about the manner in which he battled on. He has form on the flat on fast ground, but he had already proven himself on easy ground, and was defying a 10lb hike here for winning at Wetherby three weeks previously. He has gone up 7lb to 140 following this but he is really progressive – he improved on the flat in five runs through the early part of the summer, and he has carried that improvement back over hurdles now.

Tim Walford said afterwards that he thought the horse would need the run at Wetherby, but he won by seven lengths. He shelved his plan to send the horse chasing after that and is now looking instead at good handicap hurdles like the Imperial Cup and the County Hurdle for him. The First Trump gelding may continue to be under-rated on the back of this run, given that he only got home by a neck from a fairly exposed-looking rival, and coming from a small northern yard, and it is not hard to envisage him going well in one of those big handicaps.

3rd December 2011