Horses To Follow » Ballygarvey


Ballygarvey, rated just 112 over hurdles, continued his progression over fences by winning a decent two-mile handicap chase at Chepstow on Saturday in a really good time, under Racing Post par, on a day on which none of the other times on the day coming close to par.

The Philip Hobbs-trained gelding was weak in the market on Saturday morning, but he was well backed on-course before the race. He skipped out and jumped really well in the main, looking the most likely winner from some way out and picking up impressively from the third last just when it looked like his pursuers were closing. He did admittedly have it largely to himself out in front, but he showed a real enthusiasm for racing, he appeared to be always looking for the next fence. He has a nice enthusiastic way of going about his business, and it is likely that rider James Best was still holding onto plenty at the line. A four-length winning margin over Renard probably didn’t do justice to the magnitude of his superiority.

The Laveron gelding seemed to be well suited by the drop back down in trip. He had twice previously looked impressive over two and a half miles on heavy ground at Lingfield, but he showed plenty of pace here. This was and just his fifth run for Philip Hobbs and just his fifth chase, he has now won three of them, and he may not be finished yet.

He could be a horse for the Red Rum Chase at Aintree, a race in which novices have a good recent record. Front-runners do well on Aintree’s Mildmay chase track, and the quick-fire fences down the back straight should suit him well. He is still a novice, so he still has plenty of options this season – including a potential trip to Punchestown, a meeting at which Philip Hobbs likes to have good runners – and a 9lb hike for this performance may not be sufficient to prevent him winning another good handicap.

23rd February 2013