Horses To Follow » So Fine

So Fine

So Fine looks the horse to take out of the Racing Plus Hurdle, the Class 3 two-mile-five-furlong handicap hurdle run at Kempton on Saturday. Philip Hobbs’s horse was never too far away down on the inside in the hands of Richard Johnson, he is a decent jumper, if a little out to his left at times, and that was evident here. Having had a good position turning into the back straight he just got a little outpaced when Ashbrittle went up to join and then head Dantari, and a slightly slow jump at the third last, the last down the back straight, meant that he was in no better than in a share of sixth around the home turn.

He started to make ground again off the home bend, despite being crowded out and forced to switch widest of all over the second last. It briefly looked between the final two flights as though he may just be able to get back and make a race of it with Oscar Prairie, who had taken it up over the second last. He ran around a bit though in Johnson’s hands coming to the final flight, he was only fifth jumping it, and it wasn’t until the run-in, by which time the winner had gone, that his stamina really kicked into play and he ran home strongly right under the near side rail to grab third on the line. He may well have got past Ashbrittle for second in another few strides.

The race was run in a useful enough time, quicker comparatively than the two Grade 2 novice hurdles earlier on the card, and just dipping under Racing Post par, and So Fine should do even better stepped up in trip now. So Fine’s dam is a point-to-point winner, and she is out of a half-sister to the high-class staying chaser Ten Plus, so So Fine is bred to relish three miles, and it looks as though he will be well suited to that trip now. He is only six, he is still lightly-raced and has plenty of scope for progression, especially at longer trips. He appears to enjoy this good ground, his two wins earlier in the season came on a sound surface, but although he was beaten a fair way in the end on his previous run at Wincanton on soft ground, they probably went too hard up front that day in the conditions, he ultimately paid for chasing the pace and coming through to lead early in the home straight, the first two home had been held up well off the pace, and so it is far from certain that he needs decent ground to be at his best, he may well act on a softer surface. Having been eased 1lb after that previous run, he has been put back up 1lb after this latest run, but that still leaves him nicely treated on a mark of 126. He is one to watch out for for the remainder of the season, and into next season.

25th February 2012