Horses To Follow » Last Instalment

Last Instalment

Last Instalment was very good in winning the Grade 1 Fort Leney Novice Chase at Leopardstown last Wednesday, and emerges from the race probably as Ireland’s premier staying novice chaser. He was quite weak in the market, with First Lieutenant being supported and sent off favourite, Davy Russell having opted to ride the Mouse Morris-trained gelding instead.

However, Brian O’Connell soon had Last Instalment prominent, alongside Raptor, but jumping past Raptor several times. He eased a couple of lengths off Raptor up the home straight on the first circuit but went back up to challenge as they turned into the back straight and the pair of them stretched on by a few lengths, ensuring that the pace was strong through the middle section of the race. He jumped the sixth last really well, the penultimate open ditch, and went on again, but the front pair allowed the field to close as they came to the end of the back straight, the first six separated by just around three lengths as they approached the third last. Raptor fell at that fence leaving Last Instalment in front alongside Allee Garde, who had crept through on the inside with First Lieutenant poised two lengths behind. The pace really picked up from there, the leading trio quickly pulled away from the rest, and the lifting of the pace forced First Lieutenant into a mistake at the second last which put him on the back foot. Last Instalment quickly drew on from Allee Garde early in the home straight, he jumped the last really well and stretched on to record a six-length win over First Lieutenant who just got up for second place.

This run was important in terms of Last Instalment’s future as, not only did it show he was a top class novice chaser, but it proved that he could operate on goodish ground, which could be vital for his Cheltenham chances. He jumped superbly on this better ground, which was huge, as it proved that he wasn’t afraid to have a cut at his fences on the better ground. The time was very good as well, over three seconds faster than the time in which Synchronised won the Lexus Chase run over the same course and distance on the same card, and he is a serious player in the RSA Chase now, especially with Grands Crus possibly going down the Gold Cup route. Bostons Angel won this race last season before going on to land the RSA Chase, and Last Instalment would have a huge chance of repeating the feat if the RSA Chase is his target. His owner won the race with Weapon’s Amnesty two years ago, and Irish-trained horses have won the last three renewals, but Gigginstown House do have other options for the race, including First Lieutenant and Bog Warrior. The 8/1 that is currently on offer would be big if you knew that he was an intended runner.

Last Instalment has always been held in exceedingly high regard, even as a point-to-pointer, he is a super jumper, and he is a seven-year-old, he is the right age for the race. The last five winners and 10 of the last 12 winners have been seven. As he was not a high profile novice hurdler, he may still be a little under-rated.

28th December 2011