Horses To Follow » Thunderstorm


Thunderstorm continued his progression by easily landing a decent race at Market Rasen on Sunday, apparently with plenty in hand. The time was good, by far the fastest time of the day and the only time that dipped under Racing Post par.

JP McManus’ horses’s jumping was accurate, and he looked well suited by the customary strong pace set by Marodima. AP McCoy seemed to be anxious not to get too close down the back straight, so well was he travelling and jumping, the champ keeping him in behind horses rather than allowing him stride up on the outside, and he still had a tight hold of him over the second last. He jumped up alongside Beyeh over the last and AP just eased him to the front inside the final 100 yards, having had a look around him just before doing so. To judge from his rider’s body language, it is probable that Thunderstorm had a lot left to give.

The Philip Hobbs-trained gelding’s progression has been gradual rather than spectacular since returning from a long break in December. He has only been winning narrowly, and that has probably enabled him to stay one step ahead of the handicapper. He has obviously had his problems, and he probably remains a little fragile, but he is still lightly-raced and he could still be a fair way ahead of the assessor after this.

He goes well on soft ground and, while he is not devoid of pace, he got this near two-and-a-half-mile trip really well on his first try at it. He could be an Imperial Cup horse if he gets into the race, especially if the ground were to come up soft at Sandown on the Saturday before Cheltenham, as it often does. Although he looked to cope well with the step up in trip here, a really strongly-run two miles on easy ground could suit him ideally. The McManus/Hobbs combination won the Imperial Cup with Qaspal in 2010.

17th February 2013