Horses To Follow » Unioniste


Unioniste was strong in the market all day on Saturday for his British debut in a novice chase at Aintree, and was made favourite to beat the 142-rated Carlito Brigante. Admittedly he had the four-year-old allowance, but he had to carry an 8lb penalty for his win in France. As it happened, Carlito Brigante ran a lifeless race, and there were much bigger dangers to Unioniste, but he won it quite well in the end, despite the fact that they had to omit the three fences in the home straight due to the low sun didn’t help him at all.

The son of Dom Alco settled well in third place in the hands of Daryl Jacob, and his jumping was accurate rather than spectacular early on, but he jumped the cross fence on the first circuit well and he seemed to relax a bit after that and settle into a nice rhythm.

Akula and Inoogoo had gone into a useful lead at the top of the home straight on the first circuit, but Unioniste had closed right up heading out on the second circuit, and a couple of quick jumps down the back straight took him onto the tail of the leader. Another really good jump at the cross fence, much better than the leader, suggests that if they had jumped the three fences in the home straight, then he would have won much more easily, he was travelling and jumping really well. As it was, he wasn’t doing a great deal in front on the flat having hit the front after the cross fence, but he clearly had a lot more in the tank as he did pick up and settle it when Jacob asked him to as they bypassed the final fence.

This was a taking debut from Paul Nicholls’s four-year-old, perhaps he won’t get the credit he deserves because he only beat Distime by a length and a half, and because they only jumped 10 of the 16 fences, but that would be a mistake. This was just his second run over fences, his first in Britain, and his first run for five and a half months. He is a half-brother to My Will, so he should stay further in time, but two and a half miles is fine for him at present. This race has been won by Tiday Bay and Star De Mohaison (as a four-year-old) in the past, and Paul Nicholls had won three of the previous seven renewals, so there could be much better to come from Unioniste.

27th October 2012