Horses To Follow » The Giant Bolster

The Giant Bolster

The Giant Bolster had provided a hint that he might be getting his act together when he was an encouraging staying-on second to Time For Rupert in a graduation chase at Newbury in December, and he bounced back to form emphatically at Cheltenham on Saturday. He was winning on Festival Trials Day for the second successive year (he won the novice handicap chase last year), he jumped nicely out in front, he was ridden aggressively and he won extremely well in a really good time, despite having no company for most of the race. He blew the opposition away from the third last, Poquelin, a five-time course winner (although admittedly conceding plenty of weight on Saturday), could finish only 17 lengths back in second and there were wide gaps back to the rest.

The Giant Bolster has always had the talent – he was good enough to finish sixth to Peddlers Cross in the 2010 Neptune Hurdle (when starting at 200/1) and, now that he has jumped another clear round, he can go about fulfilling his potential. He has had well-documented jumping difficulties and, being a small horse, he can find it hard fighting for position in a big field, but riding him out in front is probably the key to him now. He could be good enough for the Ryanair, he could well be that good, although he is not entered in the race and would have to be supplemented.

A 15lb rise appears harsh on the face of it, it leaves him on a mark of 160, but it may not be a mark that is beyond him, and he would be of interest if he took his chance in the Racing Plus Chase (the old Racing Post Chase) at Kempton on 25th February. He would have top weight in that race if he took his chance in it, unless Captain Chris ran as well, but high weights can do well at Kempton, and specifically in that race (10 of the last 13 winners carried 11st or more, and three of the last eight carried top weight of 11st 12lb), and front-runners and prominent racers have a good record at the track generally and in the race specifically. He would be interesting bowling along in front in a big handicap over three miles at Kempton.

David Bridgwater’s horse could improve again if he learned to be just a little less ponderous at a fence when he meets one wrong. That may come with time, this was just his ninth chase and his jumping has been better in his last three runs now. Three completed rounds, as well as this wide-margin success, means his confidence should be at an all-time high, and he could yet have a big future. He is only seven, he still has plenty of scope for progression, and he should prove himself to be a fair bit better than a handicapper.

28th January 2012