Horses To Follow » Wonderful Charm

Wonderful Charm

Wonderful Charm’s performance in landing the two-mile-five-furlong novices’ chase at Wincanton on Saturday may have been under-rated generally. Certainly, it was mildly surprising that bookmakers did not cut his odds for the RSA Chase on the back of it.

Settled nicely in a share of second place behind the leader Third Intention through the early stages, Paul Nicholls’ horse travelled and jumped well through the race. He made a slight mistake at the cross fence, the third last in this race (the last fence was omitted), which allowed Fox Appeal range up on his outside on the run to the second last as the pair of them left Third Intention behind. Wonderful Charm was again a little slow at the second last as Fox Appeal went on by about two lengths, and another mistake at the last meant that he had a gap of three lengths to bridge on the run-in. However, he dug deep on the long run-in, caught the leader with 100 yards to run and went on to win by three parts of a length.

Impressive winner of the Persian War Hurdle in October 2012 on his first run in Britain, it was significant that Paul Nicholls thought enough of Wonderful Charm to pitch him into the World Hurdle on just his second run in the country. That didn’t work out, but it didn’t do him any harm either, as evidenced in his easy win in a beginners’ chase at Fakenham last month. This was just his second run over fences, he is sure to improve for it. This is usually a good race, with the last three renewals going to Wishfull Thinking, Silviniaco Conti and Houblon Des Obeaux.

Paul Nicholls said after the race that his horse was a little quirky, that he doesn’t want to be in front for too long, that the mistake that he made at the second last could have helped him. He also said that he wouldn’t want the ground to be any slower than this good to soft. He is only five, and the fact that he only just does enough means that he may be continually under-rated. His breathing was apparently a problem last spring, but that is sorted now, and he is a horse of immense potential talent. A son of Poliglote, he does have the pace for two and a half miles, but you have to think that a greater test of stamina will suit him in time, possibly even later this season. He may go for the two-and-a-half-mile novices’ chase at Newbury’s Hennessy meeting, but it may be that we will not see the best of him until he has the better ground again in the spring. He is worth keeping in mind until then, and odds of 16/1 about him for the RSA Chase are interesting even at this early stage.

9th November 2013