Horses To Follow » Felix Yonger

Felix Yonger

Felix Yonger has progressed with each run this season and ran a personal best by some way in the Neptune Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham. Ridden patiently, he crept a little closer at the top of the hill, but he was still only eighth jumping the third last flight. He made a big move from there to jump the second last in a share of third, making up ground remarkably quickly despite having to pull out wider than ideal to go around horses, a factor that was highlighted by the shots from the over-head camera, and which may not have been fully appreciated because Cotton Mill refused at the second last and hampered Monksland.

Even from the second last flight, Felix Yonger kicked away from the pack and continued to run on all the way to the line, chasing Simonsig and drawing well away from the rest, impressing with the manner in which he picked up and ran away from useful horses like Monksland and Sous Les Cieux. He was never going to catch Simonsig on the day, but he has probably not been given due recognition for his superiority over his other rivals, and it is not inconceivable that he could have given Simonsig a real race had he been ridden closer to the pace, given the amount of ground he had to make up just to get into contention.

The son of Oscar seemed to improve markedly for the return to better ground and for stepping back up in trip, having been running on winter ground at home this season. The much stronger pace that he encountered here saw his hurdling in a completely different light compared to his previous run in a steadily-run soft ground Grade 2 contest at Naas, and he will warrant serious respect if he runs again this season now, probably at Punchestown in the Grade 1 Land Rover Novice Hurdle. He could be just as good a prospect over fences next season as his stable companion Boston Bob, who is, like Felix Yonger, owned by Graham Wylie, although he may be kept over hurdles for at least another season, given that chasing appears to be the immediate plan for Boston Bob.

14th March 2012