Horses To Follow » Rival D’Estruval

Rival D’Estruval

In what was a useful and potentially informative early season novices’ chase at Carlisle last Friday, Rival D’Estruval was much too good for his rivals, and marked himself down as an interesting novice chaser for the season ahead.

After being short of room at the first fence and then not getting particularly high at the second, he really stood off the third and jumped beautifully from there on the heavy ground. He travelled nicely throughout off the strong pace set by Changing Times, and despite drifting back off the leader early on the second circuit, rider Timmy Murphy never looked worried. Rival D’Estruval’s fluent jumping ensured the leader was never able to get too far ahead, and two particularly impressive jumps at the last two fences down the back straight on the second circuit took Rival D’Estruval right up on the inside of the second horse, Big Occasion, and within three lengths of the leader. He again came up really well at the fourth fence from home, at which the leader blundered, and that took him right onto Changing Times’s quarters, still travelling strongly. He sauntered into the lead between the third last and second last, jumped the last two well, and despite getting a bit tired on the run-in, he went on to record a facile success in by far the quickest comparative time of the day.

Pauline Robson’s seven-year-old did have one chase run under his belt, he had a tilt at the Grade 2 Future Champion Novices’ Chase at Ayr at the end of last season, finishing second of six to the now 150-rated Pacha Du Polder, but he was weak enough in the market here as the money came for Changing Times on his second run for Nigel Twiston-Davies. Rival D’Estruval does go well fresh – he won a decent handicap hurdle at Aintree on his first run last season – but even allowing for that, he beat this field with real authority, putting up a performance that didn’t appear to be completely expected, especially as all his best runs before this had been on good ground. He was still a little immature at times last season, but he has the makings of a good novice chaser now. His next target is reportedly the Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase back at Carlisle in early November, a race in which Monet’s Garden beat the four-time French Grade 1-winning chaser Mid Dancer a few years ago, and that will give us an idea of where he stands. For now, he is very interesting, and, a dual winner over three miles as a novice hurdler, he could improve again for stepping up in trip and reverting to better ground. He has the potential to be a fair bit better over fences than he was over hurdles.

12th October 2012