Horses To Follow » Dunraven Storm

Dunraven Storm

Dunraven Storm made his seasonal reappearance at Taunton in mid-January, his first run since pulling up in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last year, and he looked through the race as though he would be much sharper for the outing. His next outing was on Saturday, a month later, in the Class 2 handicap hurdle at Ascot, for which he was weak in the market, possibly because of the rain, which wasn’t wholly surprising, given that all his form in bumpers and as a novice hurdler last season is on good ground, and that he disappointed at Haydock the only time he encountered good to soft ground last term.

He ran a cracker though, coming from the rear, having been forced wide, to finish fourth behind Bourne, Smad Place and Swincombe Flame, all three of them highly talented and/or highly progressive handicappers. The first three home were all pretty prominent through the race, they had moved to the front around the home turn while Dunraven Storm was still trying to make in-roads out wide, and they had also raced right towards the inside rail for most of the race. It seemed to be difficult to get into contention out wide, the only other horse to make significant ground from the rear, Helium, made his progress towards the inside. Dunraven Storm deserves credit for reaching the frame given that he didn’t have his ideal conditions and that he certainly wasn’t favoured by the way the race was run.

Dunraven Storm was a high class novice through the first half of last season, he easily beat subsequent Totesport Trophy winner Recession Proof at Ascot and finished second to Cue Card in a Grade 2 contest at Cheltenham in November, when the race may have come a bit soon for him just two weeks after the Ascot win. He will be better back on better ground now, he has been dropped a further 1lb, having already been dropped 2lb following his comeback run, and he is really interesting now off a mark of 139. He was as high as 150 last season. He would be very interesting if he were to turn up in one of the handicaps at Cheltenham. The Coral Cup is probably the race for him, given how well he seemed to see out this intermediate trip, but he would also be interesting if he were to line up instead in the County Hurdle or the Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle.

18th February 2012