Horses To Follow » Loch Ba

Loch Ba

Loch Ba is progressing really nicely now and there was a lot to like about the manner of his victory in the Class 3 three-mile handicap chase at Newbury last Wednesday. He had raced right-handed on his previous six runs, but he seemed to be very happy on Newbury’s left-handed track, and he ran out a comfortable winner of what had looked beforehand like a competitive handicap chase.

Camilla Radford’s gelding travelled really well throughout, he jumped fluently, having warmed up over the first few fences, and he looked the most likely winner from some way out. He briefly found himself in front early down the back straight when Ringa Bay made a bad mistake, but Dominic Elsworth was happy to take a lead and restrained Loch Ba just behind the leader up the inside. Elsworth gave him a squeeze after the third last fence, and he quickly went to the front, jumped the last two fences well and drew eight lengths clear of a well-packed field clocking a good time. The eight-length winning margin probably didn’t reflect his true superiority, as it looked as though he had plenty left to give as he crossed the line, and the fact that the well-backed favourite Mountainous finished second added to the solidity of the form.

This was Loch Ba’s ninth run over fences, but it was only his second chase at a left-handed track, and he still has significant scope for progression, enough to defy a rise of a fairly hefty 12lb, especially on a galloping track like this. He has only just turned seven, he is maturing nicely now, and he appears to be getting his jumping together now, an aspect of his armoury that had let him down in the past. His trainer Mick Channon said afterwards that he was worried about the ground being too soft, it wasn’t as bad on the chase course as the hurdles course, as is often the case at Newbury, and so he could be even better on better ground. His 12lb hike might be enough to put plenty of people off him next time, but it might not pay to under-estimate him. It may be that he is only just starting to fulfil his potential.

16th January 2013