Horses To Follow » Cape Express

Cape Express

Cape Express was completing a four-timer over hurdles – either side of a foray on the flat – when winning a Class 3 0-140 handicap hurdle at Aintree on Saturday, and he did it well.

Having had a good position tracking the leaders for the first two-thirds of the race, Nicky Henderson’s horse had to fight for his position among horses leaving the back straight, which didn’t help, he was wider than ideal around the home turn, and he got pushed inside behind the two leaders by the improving Cousin Khee coming to the third last, which meant that Barry Geraghty had to quickly pull him out around horses to get a view of the hurdle. Quickly back on an even keel, Cape Express came cruising alongside the leaders after the second last, and he picked up impressively to come right away on landing over the last.

The Cape Cross gelding was weak in the market, there was good support for Empire Levant, who was beaten well before he unseated at the last. This was Cape Express’s first run for two months, his first run over hurdles for three months, and his first in a handicap over hurdles. He has been raised 11lb for this win, but that is deserved, he ultimately won with a lot in hand despite things not really going his way at times, and he can progress again from this. There is room for his jumping to improve, this was only his third run over conventional hurdles having encountered fixed-brush ones at Southwell and Worcester, and it did get better through the race here, so if it does improve then he could be a high-class handicapper. He should stay further than two miles as well, two and a half miles on a flat track shouldn’t be a problem for him. There could well be a big handicap in him now.

27th October 2012