Horses To Follow » Vino Griego

Vino Griego

Vino Griego jumped off prominently towards the outside in the Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday, but he hit the first fence, after which Jamie Moore steadily worked his way right back to the rear and angled towards the inside coming down the hill for the first time. It was a race in which it was an advantage to race handily and he was the only horse to really get into it from the rear, despite the fact that his jumping wasn’t that fluent down the back straight. He moved fairly comfortably into a clear third at the top of the hill, he was travelling much better than the two in front of him, Sew On Target and Renard D’Irlande, around the home turn as the three of them came a long way clear, and he bounded away up the home straight, jumping the last two as well as he had jumped any other fence the whole way around.

This was a high-class performance, and there is a chance that Gary Moore’s horse may not get due recognition for it. He was so exposed going into the race, but he won it on merit, comprehensively so. It was a hot handicap and he blew it apart. Also, the time was remarkably fast, the fastest time of the day by far, and four seconds faster than Katenko was when he clocked the second fastest comparative time of the day in winning the Murphy Group Chase.

Vino Griego is a talented sort, his yard is in great form, and it is more than possible that he can go on from this now with his confidence up. We saw a different side of Vino Griego here, he had to fight for ground going out onto the final circuit and he did so willingly. Also, he pulled a long way clear up the hill, which was new. The heavy ground probably helped him, his two previous career wins had both also been on heavy ground, and he settled well. Given he ran out a 19-length winner of what beforehand had looked a really competitive handicap, a 10lb hike is not harsh, and he will be of interest off a mark of 138 wherever he goes next. He could be a horse for the Centenary Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, he would just creep in under the 140 threshold for that race.

26th January 2013