Horses To Follow » Rockawango


There was a lot to like about the performance that Rockawango put up in winning a three-runner two-mile handicap chase at Carlisle on Monday. Always travelling well for Brian Hughes, he moved nicely in leader Little Glenshee’s slipstream over the last three fences, moved out to join her over the last, and impressed with the manner in which he picked up on the run-in in the testing conditions to come clear, leaving the impression that he had plenty of energy left.

The Okawango gelding raced 44 times on the flat in France, winning 10 times, and he won a listed hurdle at Auteuil on his final run there in September 2012. He shaped with ability when he encountered soft ground over hurdles in Britain last season for James Ewart, but this was a step forward – his chasing bow – on anything that he achieved over hurdles. Little Glenshee was well-fancied and well-backed, she goes well on this very soft ground and she stays further than this two-mile trip, so it was a fine performance by Rockawango to beat her as easily as he did. Also, the time was good for a chasing debutant, not far off Racing Post par.

Rockawango raced off his hurdles mark of 123 here, but he is probably going to be a better chaser than a hurdler on this evidence. The handicapper will have his say now, but it is reasonable to expect that Rockawango will improve also for this, his debut over fences. He seems to have benefitted from his wind operation during the summer, but he does seem to relish this really testing ground, and he will always be of interest when he races in very soft or heavy conditions.

13th November 2013