Horses To Follow » Terminal


But for Boston Bob’s final fence fall, there would have been an Irish clean sweep in the RSA Chase. The main focus has rightly on the first two, Lord Windermere and Lyreen Legend – although there is a suspicion that Lord Windermere won with a little more in hand than has generally been appreciated – and the faller but, as such, the performance of the other Irish-trained horse, Terminal, in finishing fifth may have gone a little under the radar.

Held up in last place in the early stages by David Casey, who was riding him for the first time, Willie Mullins’ horse travelled okay but they just seemed to be going half a stride quicker than ideal for him on this ground, the first time he has encountered anything better than heavy ground over fences, and a slow jump at the fence going away from the stands didn’t help. He seemed to warm up after that though, and he started to get into it on the outside down the back straight before he made a significant mistake at the ditch at the top of the hill just as the pace was increasing. He was on the back foot after that.

He was outpaced as they picked up coming down the hill and he lost touch with the front group, but he started to stay on from the third last and he ran on really well up the hill to finish fifth, not beaten far for third. With a slightly better round of jumping he may well have been placed.

This was just his fourth run over fences and it is interesting that he was backed in the morning, given that Willie Mullins had the overnight favourite Boston Bob. He beat Tofino Bay over three miles on heavy ground at Navan on his previous run, he is obviously all stamina, and he would be of interest now if he took his chance in the Irish National a race in which novices can do well, as long as he recovers from his Cheltenham exertions on time. The slightly slower pace that they will go in that race should suit him, and softer ground – as seems likely at present – would be a positive. He is only six (just one horse younger than seven has won the RSA Chase since Florida Pearl in 1998 anyway) and, longer term, he should be an exciting staying chaser next season.

13th March 2013