Horses To Follow » Johns Spirit

Johns Spirit

Johns Spirit really got his act together over fences when winning a decent novices’ handicap chase at Sandown in early December, and he took another step forward back at the Esher track on his next start on Saturday when stepping up to three miles for the first time.

He was a little sketchy over the first couple of fences, especially the second, when he could easily have fallen, but he warmed to his task really well after that. He travelled exuberantly, he still hadn’t fully settled coming up the home straight first time around, but he jumped well down the back straight on the second circuit and got up the rail in behind Katenko on the run to the Pond Fence. He looked to be travelling better than Katenko on the run to the fence but the winner jumped it better than he did and he just wasn’t able to match the winner for stamina, although he did come clear of the remainder.

Given how well he travelled, he might just benefit from a drop back to two and a half or two and three quarter miles, or at least three miles on better ground. He is lightly raced and progressive, he has been left on his mark of 133 after this, which is decidedly lenient. He did win at Sandown on his previous run but he jumped a bit to his left at times here and so he could benefit from going back left-handed. He may well be a horse for one of the handicaps at the Cheltenham Festival, perhaps the Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase, which is run over an extended two and a half miles, and which is restricted to novices who are rated 140 or less. That looks like an ideal target.

5th January 2013