Horses To Follow » Water Garden

Water Garden

Having won a Class 4 0-120 novices’ handicap hurdle on his previous run, Water Garden was raised sharply in grade into a Pertemps qualifier at Warwick on Saturday, but acquitted himself well in the higher class, and put in a performance that suggests he is still firmly on the upgrade. He raced wide the whole way, he was as much as six or seven horses wide for much of the race, and he stayed on well from the rear to finish fourth, with Conor O’Farrell not overly hard on him once his winning chance had gone.

David Pipe’s charge has only just turned six, this was just his ninth ever run, he had won his previous two, both Class 4 events, and he was racing off a mark here that was 28lb higher than the mark off which he had won at Wincanton in early December, and 14lb higher than the mark off which he had won at Ascot on his previous race. On this evidence, however, he can win off this mark, he certainly wasn’t fazed by the step up in grade, and he can make his presence felt at this level.

Described as quite late maturing by his trainer, he has come into his own since being switched to handicaps and stepping up in trip. This looked a pretty hot race beforehand, there were lots of horses coming into the race on the back of wins on their previous runs, and the form has a solid look to it with the ultra progressive Thehillofuisneach running out the winner and Barwell Bridge, unexposed at three miles having finished sixth in the Pertemps Final last year, also running a cracker in third, the front four a little way ahead of the remainder. Water Garden is qualified for the Pertemps Final now at Cheltenham and, given his connections, it would be surprising if he wasn’t primed to run for his life if he shows up there. It looked as though O’Farrell was looking for better ground hence the decision to be so wide, and so likely better ground at Cheltenham (the hurdles track at Warwick was on the slow side) may suit him a bit better.

14th January 2012