Horses To Follow » Tofino Bay

Tofino Bay

Tofino Bay ran a cracker in the four-mile National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham last week and he was probably unlucky to get caught by Back In Focus. With the exceptions of quite a bad mistake at the second fence and another mistake down the back straight final time, he jumped well in the hands of Nina Carberry, and he travelled sweetly out wide in a share of the lead, always going like a potential winner. He was still travelling strongly coming down the hill for the final time, he jumped to the front over the third last, soon after which Nina had a look behind her. Rival D’Estruval quickened up nicely to join him up the inside around the home turn, but Tofino Bay had narrowly edged back to the front when Rival D’Estruval fell at the second last.

Rival D’Estruval’s fall probably didn’t help Tofino Bay, he was left five lengths clear when his rival departed and, while he still held that advantage over the last and halfway up the run-in, he idled badly inside the final furlong and allowed Back In Focus to catch him.

It is probable that he was idling rather than tiring. Back In Focus, who stormed up the hill, wasn’t getting any further away once he went half a length up, Tofino Bay picked up again and was trying to come back at the winner. He was actually back alongside at the pull-up. If Rival D’Estruval hadn’t fallen, Tofino Bay would have had something to race with for longer and may well have won.

Dessie Hughes’ horse has quite a high cruising speed for a stayer, and he stays so well he could be a Grand National horse now. Even though he is a novice, he has high-class handicap form on the board. He won the Troytown Chase on heavy ground at Navan under 11st 4lb on just his third run over fences when he kept on really well when pressed by Like Your Style, despite his rider dropping his whip on the run-in, with the pair of them pulling clear of Glenquest and subsequent Thyestes Chase winner Jadanli. He is an unusual novice, a 10-year-old, the ideal age for the Grand National, and he has handicap experience. It wouldn’t make sense to rule him out of calculations if he runs at Aintree just because he is a novice.

13th March 2013