Horses To Follow » Viva Colonia

Viva Colonia

Viva Colonia ran a cracker to finish third behind Conquisto and Astracad in the Old Roan Chase over two and a half miles at Aintree on Saturday. A 16/1 shot and 1lb out of the handicap, Brian Ellison’s horse did well to finish as close as he did, given that he came from the back in a race in which it was probably an advantage to race handily. The other three horses who, with him, filled the first four places, all raced prominently. They were actually first, second and third passing the winning post first time.

Having jumped off on the outside, Viva Colonia was quickly manoeuvred across to the inside by Danny Cook. Travelling and jumping nicely, he made smooth progress down the back straight and was one of five who broke away over the cross fence and one of four in contention going to the second last. He had to switch a couple of times on the long run down to the final fence, but he kept finding all the way to the line to finish a close-up third, seeing out this two-and-a-half-mile trip well.

Viva Colonia is not lightly-raced, this was his 42nd run under all codes, but it was just his seventh run over fences, and that makes him interesting. The handicapper left him on the mark of 140 off which he raced here, which is generous given that he was only beaten two and a quarter lengths and that he is probably still progressing with experience as a chaser. He had run well in the Red Rum Handicap Chase at Aintree at the end of last season, and his two chase wins last season were both at Musselburgh, so he obviously handles a flat track well. That said, he did run a cracker to finish fifth in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham’s Paddy Power meeting two seasons ago as a 40/1 shot, so he is versatile as regards track type. He has won on good ground and on soft ground, so he also appears to be versatile as regards ground conditions.

There could be a decent handicap in him now. He will be of interest wherever he goes next, which will ideally be in a two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase.

26th October 2013