Horses To Follow » Defy Logic

Defy Logic

Much of the focus after the Racing Post Chase at Leopardstown on Thursday centred on Champagne Fever’s defeat. It is understandable that it did, Champagne Fever is a Cheltenham Bumper winner and a Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner, and he was long odds-on to make it two wins from two chase runs on Thursday. However, because of the skewed focus, the quality of the performance that Defy Logic put up to win the race may have gone a little under the radar.

Sent to the front from flagfall, as is his wont, the Paul Nolan-trained gelding was harried throughout the early stages of the race by Champagne Fever, up on his outside. Even so, he wasn’t overly keen, he settled nicely in front for Mark Walsh. He got in a little tight to the second fence down the back straight, and he was just a little long at the third last, but, apart from those slight errors, his jumping was exemplary, fast and accurate and neat. When Champagne Fever made a mistake at the second last fence, Defy Logic was able to kick clear.

Trifolium loomed up menacingly in behind on the run to the final flight and, such was the energy that JP McManus’ horse had expended in going toe-to-toe with Champagne Fever all the way down the back straight, it would have been understandable if he had wilted on the run-in as those early exertions took their toll. But he didn’t. On the contrary, he picked up again after the final fence, and was actually going away again if anything on the run to the line.

Mentioned here after he won his beginners’ chase at Naas in October, this was a high-class performance from the Flemensfirth gelding. Champagne Fever is top class, and he stays further than this two-mile trip, so it was a huge performance from Defy Logic to match him as he did, and then to pull away from him. Also, the winning time looks really good, the only time that dipped below Racing Post par on the day. (His absolute time, 5.1secs faster than standard, is difficult to trust if the ground really was soft and the distance really was two miles and one furlong.)

He was beaten by Felix Yonger on his previous run at Punchestown, and that horse was beaten at Limerick, also on Thursday, but you have to think that that was not Felix Yonger’s true running. Also, there is a suspicion that Defy Logic is better going left-handed than he is going right. Either way, JP McManus’ horse is only seven now, he has raced just eight times in his life and just three times over fences. He is improving with experience as he is learning to settle in his hood, and he could progress again. He is a high-class two-mile novice chaser, and he is a big player in the Arkle Trophy picture.

26th December 2013