Horses To Follow » Moleskin


An habitual front-runner, Moleskin once again set off in front at a strong pace in a Class 3 three-mile handicap chase at Sandown on Friday, pressurized into going a furious early pace by Inga Bird, and it may have been an even more contested lead had Mid Div And Creep not fallen at the first fence having led narrowly over it. Nozic moved right through over the Railway Fences to come and press for the lead and Andrew Glassonbury sensibly allowed that one and Inga Bird to go on as they turned out of the back straight. Moleskin seemed happy to take a lead, so it was surprising that, after a quick jump at the third fence in the back straight, Glassonbury moved Moleskin back up on the outside of Inga Bird to take up the running once again.

Given that they had gone plenty hard enough to that point already – a couple of horses were already tailed off – it was a bold move to press on for home so far out. He had a four-length lead turning out of the back straight, but Reblis closed right up over the Pond Fence and Moleskin looked in big trouble as they turned in to face the climb to the line. To his credit though, Victor Dartnall’s horse stuck at it, he made Reblis work over the last two fences, only giving best after the last, where he made a mistake, and he may yet have been able to lay down a stronger test on the run-in but for that. He ultimately finished third as Court By Surprise finished really strongly from some way off the pace for second.

This was a huge effort from a front-runner in a race in which they went too fast early on. He will be better the next time that he is allowed to lead without having to go too fast. He would also probably have fared better if Glassonbury had been a little more patient here, and not struck for home so early – doing so meant that he turned the race into a real stamina test which suited Reblis, who was already being pushed along as they passed the stands on their first circuit, and Court By Surprise who was given plenty of time to get into the race and was still 10 lengths down over the last.

Moleskin reportedly had a few things ailing him last season and early this term, which have apparently been corrected now, and his trainer feels that he is a different horse now. He has taken well to blinkers, he is versatile ground-wise, and he is progressive over fences now at the age of nine. The handicapper has left him on his mark of 122 after this run, which seems generous, and he is well capable of winning again now, perhaps back on a more speed-oriented track.

24th February 2012