Horses To Follow » River D’Or

River D’Or

River D’Or looks worth noting now after an encouraging run at Cheltenham on Friday in the two-mile-five-furlong conditional jockeys’ handicap chase. Weak in the market in the morning but stronger as the race got closer, he travelled well and jumped well, starting off prominently but happy to take a lead. He travelled best of all down the hill but just got caught a little flat-footed off the home turn. Giles Hawkins still looked quite confident on him as he pulled to the outside coming to the second last, but he made a mistake at that fence, he just got in too tight when he needed to jump it quickly as the font two flew it. That was a really costly error as it left him some five or six lengths off the front pair who weren’t stopping particularly quickly up the hill. River D’Or ran on best of all to finish third, it even looked for a brief moment as though he might sweep past the front two as he ran on really strongly to the line. He couldn’t quite get there, but he was only beaten three quarters of a length and a head after making up good ground on the run-in.

He was racing off a career-low mark of 108 here. He was much better than that when he came over from France and joined Paul Nicholls. He had a brief spell with Arthur Moore over the summer, and this was just his second run for Sophie Leech. He could be rejuvenated by this move to a small yard, he may enjoy being in that sort of environment. The handicapper raised him just 2lb for this run, which is lenient. It leaves him on a mark of 110, 11lb below his hurdles mark, and he will be interesting wherever he goes now. He stays this trip well, he stays three miles in fact, and it could be that a step back up in trip will suit him now, he just may have lacked the tactical speed at the bottom of the hill here. That said, he had travelled strongly into the race and so maybe he will be sharper again for the run. He obviously likes Cheltenham, he powered home up the hill. He is only six, this was just his seventh run over fences, and he should be worth following now. He may still be under-rated.

9th December 2011