Horses To Follow » Deep Trouble

Deep Trouble

Deep Trouble is high-profile now after he dived away to his right on landing over the final flight in the two-mile handicap hurdle at Sandown on Saturday. Leighton Aspell could well win ride-of-the-season, not only for keeping the partnership intact, but also for getting his horse back on an even keel and riding him without irons to prevail by a length. The horse obviously has his quirks, his hood obviously helps him settle, but he also has talent, and his quirks may take precedence over his talent in people’s minds now.

Settled out the back in a race that was not run at that fast a pace, Ben Case’s horse made easy progress for Aspell among horses on the run to the second last flight. He jumped that obstacle well and, so well was he travelling that he found himself in front fully 150 yards before he got to the final flight. That was too early. He started to hang on the approach to the last, and he actually jumped the obstacle diagonally to his right, with his rider using his reins to stay on board. As well as losing ground by running towards the far rail, he also expended energy and lost momentum, and he only had the assistance up the run-in of a jockey without irons, so the fact that he was still able to win by a length suggests that he had a fair bit more than that in hand.

This was just Deep Trouble’s sixth run over hurdles. Still just a six-year-old, on his last run before Saturday, he finished second to the really well-backed Quick Jack at Cheltenham’s November meeting, a race from which the third horse Three Kingdoms has also come out and won.

The handicapper has raised him 8lb for this, but that is not harsh. He probably won with that amount in hand anyway, but he will do even better when he is held up for longer, and he still has the scope to progress significantly further, given his youth and his relative lack of experience. His record over hurdles now reads 221221, but his last two runs represent significant improvement on what he had done before, and he can continue to progress now. He does have form on heavy ground and over two and a half miles, but a fast-run two miles on goodish ground seems to be his optimum, and he could be a horse for one of the top two-mile handicap hurdles now.

7th December 2013