Horses To Follow » Quantitativeeasing


A little obvious perhaps now that he has won the December Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday after finishing second in the Paddy Power, but Quantitativeeasing has loads of scope for further progression, possibly more than people appreciate. He is still just six, this was just his seventh chase, and he showed a tremendous attitude to go through the gap between Roudoudou Ville and Medermit on the run-in and get up a few strides before the line.

He is generally a quick jumper, and he has plenty of experience in big fields now, although he had far from a trouble-free passage through this race. Barry Geraghty settled him in the middle of the pack, but he drifted back a little over the first few fences to be in the second half of the field as they passed the stands for the first time. He got in a bit tight to the first fence down the back straight, and he wasn’t done any favours at the 10th and 11th fences, firstly Nomecheki made a mistake in front of him and Geraghty had to pull around that one and Divers, and then Divers himself blundered at the next fence and Keith Mercer almost fell onto Quantitativeeasing as he was unseated. Those two incidents pushed Henderson’s horse out towards the outside of the pack, but Geraghty switched back to the inside after jumping the fourth last, and he started to make progress coming down the hill. He was lucky to avoid the stumbling Salut Flo at the third last, but he was still no better than seventh as they turned into the straight to face the hill.

A good jump at the second last gave him a slim chance of getting to the leader, but he still looked a very unlikely winner as it appeared that Roudoudou Ville had set up an unassailable lead. Another slick jump at the last kept Quantitativeeasing’s hopes alive, and when the leader started to flounder up the hill, JP McManus’s horse was produced between him and Medermit to hit the front with 30 yards to run, and ultimately win a shade comfortably close home.

The time of the race was really good, they went a strong pace throughout, and Quantitativeeasing will surely benefit from stepping up in trip now. Henderson tried him in the Irish National last season as a novice, they clearly felt stamina was his strong point, and it could yet be, despite two fine runs now this season at this extended two-and-a-half-mile trip. He is a full-brother to the brilliant hurdler Asian Maze who won two Grade 1 hurdle races over three miles, so there is every chance that Quantitativeeasing’s best trip in the future will be three miles or even beyond, he is only six after all. He is proven at Cheltenham, that is now three really good runs over fences there to go with his fifth in the Coral Cup a couple of seasons ago, and an ability to go well at Cheltenham is so important in National Hunt racing these days. It is possible that he could be better than a handicapper in time. For now, the three-mile handicap chase, the old William Hill Trophy, looks like the race for him at the Festival now rather than the Byrne Group Plate over this trip. An 8lb hike may not be enough to halt his progress.

10th December 2011