Past Winners » Ulck Du Lin


This probably isn’t the most competitive of two-mile handicap chases, despite the numbers, plenty of the runners have questions to answer now, and 9/2 about Ulck Du Lin is more than fair. I thought that he would be a good bit shorter than that.

Paul Nicholls’s horse won three times from five runs in France, two hurdles and a chase, and he started at just 12/1 for the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham last season on his first run for Nicholls. He could finish only 12th at Cheltenham but he went on to run well in two subsequent races last season, finishing second in a novice hurdle at Chepstow and then finishing third to the talented pair Lexi’s Boy and Sadler’s Risk on desperate ground at Sandown on Bet365 Gold Cup day off a mark of 128.

No longer a novice over fences, he ran in a handicap chase at Stratford at the end of October, and he looked a complete natural. He jumped superbly, with the exception of one mistake five from home, and he travelled best of all around the home turn, but he just couldn’t go with the winner into the home straight, actually fading to finish third. That was over two miles and six furlongs on soft ground though, he is only four, and that trip on that ground on his first run of the season probably just stretched him.

He looks to have the pace to drop back to an extended two miles without any problem, and his jumping is certainly good enough. Given how well he jumped at Stratford, it would be a surprise if he isn’t a much better chaser than a hurdler, and his mark over fences of 126, 2lb lower than his hurdles mark, is potentially very lenient.

Once again, Walsh takes over in the saddle this afternoon, and, with no other rides on the card at less than 11st, it looks significant that he is set to get down to his minimum of 10st 1lb to ride Ulck Du Lin.