Horses To Follow » Twirling Magnet

Twirling Magnet

Twirling Magnet looked good in winning the three-mile novices’ chase on Friday at Cheltenham. The Jonjo O’Neill-trained gelding was given a lovely ride by AP McCoy, held up out the back off what was quite a decent pace and creeping into the race steadily. Also, crucially, he impressed with his jumping, which he hasn’t always done in the past.

Travelling well setting off down the hill, the Imperial Ballet gelding improved between horses coming to the bottom of the hill, clearly going best. He was helped by Pantxoa’s mistake at the second last but, while he was still a couple of lengths down at the time, he was going better and probably would have come out on top anyway. He went on after the final fence and drew a few lengths clear, and he pricked his ears when he got to the front and looked around him a little up the hill, leaving the impression that he had at least a little more left to give. And the winning time was good, the fastest of the three chases run on the day by some way, and nearly nine seconds faster than the amateur riders’ handicap chase run over the same distance later on the card, in which admittedly the pace did collapse.

This was Twirling Magnet’s 10th chase, but he is only seven and he still has plenty of scope for progression. He can be quirky, he was tailed off on his previous run at Market Rasen, just three weeks earlier, but he is also talented when things drop his way. In that context, it is significant that he put up this performance, probably the best of his life, at Cheltenham on his first visit there. He goes well on good ground and he has been on the go through the summer, so, now that he has experience of Cheltenham and the ground is starting to change, it would not be surprising if Jonjo put him away before too long and trained him for the spring festivals. The JLT Specialty Handicap Chase back at Cheltenham in March is an obvious target. Interestingly, that is a race that the trainer has won twice in the last five years.

A 1lb hike for this looks lenient, it leaves him on a mark of 143, actually 1lb lower than the mark off which he raced in a good handicap chase at Newton Abbot during the summer. He may just be under-rated a little because he has been running through the summer, and he is one to keep in the back of your mind now for the spring.

18th October 2013