Horses To Follow » Standing Ovation

Standing Ovation

Standing Ovation and Highland Lodge fought out a real battle for the Desert Orchid Handicap Chase over three and a half miles at Wincanton on Sunday, and in pulling well clear of the rest in a seriously good time, they marked themselves down as two talented performers.

The race was run in a time that was marginally faster than standard, which was significant on a day on which none of the other times got remotely close. The ground was good, but they had had 14mm of rain overnight, so it was not lightning fast ground. To a large extent, the fast time was down to the fast pace that Highland Lodge set, and he emerges from the race with tons of credit for battling back when it looked like Standing Ovation was coming out well on top around the home turn. However, Emma Lavelle’s horse had been really well backed all day, his stable is in super form and he was clearly primed for a massive run first time out, and Standing Ovation could be the one of the pair who is open to more progression.

The David Pipe-trained six-year-old travelled really well the whole way just behind the pace, he jumped well for Conor O’Farrell and, having assumed control of the race early in the home straight, he battled on when re-joined by Highland Lodge at the third last, and he dug in deeply on the run-in to prevail. The front pair had it between themselves from a long way out, and they pulled 28 lengths clear of some useful yardsticks in Inside Dealer, Seven Woods and Any Currency. This is strong form.

This was Standing Ovation’s third win in just 17 days. His first win was off a mark of just 94, but he is seriously progressive now, and the manner in which he travelled through this race suggests that he probably hasn’t reached his peak yet. Although he is obviously in for another fairly hefty hike for this, he is progressive enough to be able to withstand a significant rise. He is only six and this was just his sixth chase.

It may be that good ground is quite important to him, so the ground could be starting to go against him now, but he will be of big interest whenever he gets his ground, and he is worth at least one go on softer ground. He is still a novice, so he has myriad options. He would be interesting if he ran at the Paddy Power meeting at Cheltenham, especially if the ground is not too soft for that meeting.

27th October 2013