Horses To Follow » Drumshambo


Drumshambo put up a nice performance to win the two-mile handicap chase at Ascot on Saturday. Settled nicely just behind the pace by Aidan Coleman, Venetia Williams’ horse jumped well throughout, if a little to his right on occasion. Moving up nicely down the side of the track, he took it up at the third last and kicked clear, quickly setting up a race-winning advantage. Lancetto did come from the rear to chase him home, and he did close on the run-in to narrow the gap to just two and a half lengths at the line, but Drumshambo had done all his running by that stage, and he was entitled to get a little tired on the run-in.

This was a big performance from Drumshambo. He clocked a good time, the fastest comparative time on a really good card, and the front pair finished clear of useful horses Greywell Boy and the well-backed Filbert. Drumshambo was progressive over fences last season, winning four times, and he didn’t run at all badly in the Grand Annual at the Cheltenham Festival, finishing fourth, albeit about 20 lengths behind the winner Alderwood. But he is still only seven, he still has scope for progression, and this was probably a career-best effort.

It may have been the switch back to a right-handed track that brought about this performance, he did tend to jump to his right and he is now four for five over fences at right-handed tracks, with all wins coming over two miles. His jumping here was good, and that will stand to him as the season progresses. The Venetia Williams yard was decidedly out of form before this race was run but, with Houblon Des Obeaux also winning the United House Gold Cup 70 minutes later, you have to conclude that she has suddenly struck form.

The handicapper has raised Drumshambo 9lb for this. While that leaves him now on a mark of 147, some 34lb higher than the mark off which he won his first handicap, it is difficult to argue that he did not win with at least that amount in hand, and it is probable that there is even more to come. The ground was good to soft here, but he handles soft and heavy ground as well, and he could still be worth following now. He jumps his fences well, he is a much better chaser than hurdler, and he will be of particular interest back on a right-handed track.

2nd November 2013