Horses To Follow » Bless The Wings

Bless The Wings

Bless The Wings marked himself down as very much a chaser on the up by winning the two-mile-five-furlong novices’ handicap chase at Cheltenham on Saturday in good style. He travelled well through the race, he was wider than ideal, and he jumps a little to his right, so he did well to win as he did. He might not have won had That’lldoboy not fallen, but he jumped the last fence like a horse who had a lot left to give, and he just idled on the run-in which kept the winning margin at two and a half lengths.

He is better than the bare form of this (although there were plenty of fallers in the race so the race may have taken less winning than it might have), and he remains progressive. He kept on well to finish second to Our Mick at Kempton over Christmas, taking advantage of That’lldoboy’s fall there too. The winner has gone on to land a Grade 2 at Haydock since, and is now rated 19lb higher than the mark off which he raced at Kempton, so Alan King’s horse is still more than feasibly handicapped on an 11lb higher mark now, 3lb for his Kempton run and another 8lb for winning on Saturday. That leaves him on a mark of 138, a perfect mark for the Centenary Chase at the Festival. He is progressive enough to cope with that rise, and he is likely to head straight there now as any further rise would put his chances of competing in that race in jeopardy (it is a 0-140 contest). He would also be of interest if he was stepped up in trip for the JLT Specialty Chase (the former William Hill Trophy), now that he is proven around Cheltenham, putting in an accurate round of jumping. Also, given the fact that he jumped right-handed a little here, he will also be of interest returned to a right-handed track.

28th January 2012