Horses To Follow » Our Father

Our Father

Our Father was strongly backed for a Class 3 handicap hurdle over two miles and six furlongs at Ascot on Friday on what was his first run of the season, and he looks a horse to follow now. He was given a lot to do by Timmy Murphy as Shoreacres skipped away from the field down the side of the course, but he just about got there at the last, catching Shoreacres and going on before idling close home and allowing the long-time leader to close back up near to the finish. He created a nice impression though, the front two pulled 14 lengths clear of Shuil Royale, who was also well fancied and well backed, with the rest of the field came home at long intervals. He was value for more than the winning margin, he idled once he hit the front having made up a lot of ground, and nothing else really made any ground on Shoreacres.

David Pipe’s gelding took the eye in similar fashion when winning on his debut at Chepstow in January last season, making up a lot of ground from the rear that day too to win fairly comfortably from a couple of useful sorts. He was beaten into second when a short priced favourite for both his subsequent starts last season, but he was probably just a little weak and found it tough to carry a penalty in novice events. He bumped into a pretty useful rival on his third start too in Handy Andy.

He has obviously done well in the nine months since we last saw him, he must have been going well at home as he was really strongly backed here. The manner in which he bridged the large gap to the leader on his own with no help from Murphy after the third last and around the home turn was impressive. He goes on soft ground, all four of his runs to date have been on soft ground, he should stay further than this two-and-three-quarter-mile trip and he can improve from this. He has been raised 14lb to a mark of 143 after this, the handicapper hasn’t taken too many chances, but he looked to have been given a lenient mark for his handicap debut here and a rise of that magnitude is justified. The original plan was apparently to go chasing this season, but the novice chase division is so strong this season and Our Father is only five going on six, so connections have seemingly decided to stay hurdling for now. He should make up into an exciting chaser in time, but in the meantime he can win more races over hurdles, especially while the ground is soft.

16th December 2011