Horses To Follow » Champagne At Tara

Champagne At Tara

Champagne At Tara put up a good performance to finish fourth in the bumper that rounded off proceedings at Cheltenham on Sunday. Held up out the back in the early stages by AP McCoy, second last of the 13 runners in a race in which it ultimately paid to race handily, he really well down the hill and moved up nicely to take fourth place on the inside as they rounded the home turn. He had done a lot of running to get himself into that position, and he just couldn’t match joint favourites Red Sherlock and Carningli as they moved away from him in the home straight, but he did keep on well to finish fourth, the first four clear.

The winner and second are obviously very useful, both went into the race with two wins from two bumper runs, both were well-fancied and well-backed and, interesting, both raced prominently throughout. Also, third-placed Our Kaempfer, who ran a cracker to finish a close-up third, hunted up the leading group from early. Champagne At Tara was the only one of the first five home who got into the race from the rear.

The Kayf Tara gelding finished second in his only point-to-point to Very Wood – who then won his bumper and his maiden hurdle before finishing second to the talented Minella Foru in an unsatisfactorily-run Grade 3 hurdle – and was an easy winner of a bumper at Market Rasen on his racecourse debut last month. The second horse from that bumper, Assam Black, ran out an easy winner of a Taunton bumper on his only run since. The evidence of Sunday’s run suggests that he would probably benefit from a step up from the minimum trip now, and that is backed up by his breeding. He is by an Ascot Gold Cup winner out of a half-sister to Champagne Harry, a staying hurdler and chaser, who won over three miles herself. Owned by JP McManus and trained by Jonjo O’Neill, Champagne At Tara could make up into a useful staying novice hurdler this season, if he is sent down that route now.

17th November 2013