Horses To Follow » Grand Vision

Grand Vision

Grand Vision ran a really encouraging race on his second run back after a long break to finish second to Uncle Jimmy in the Pertemps Qualifier at Warwick on Sunday.

A little keener than ideal through the early stages of the race for his 7lb-claiming rider Michael Legg, the near-white gelding’s jumping was good, accurate and efficient, and he was quickly travelling easily just behind the leaders. He lost his position a little after the fourth last flight, and had to be ridden along, but that may have been more down to a lack of concentration than a lack of energy or willingness, and he responded well to his rider’s urgings when he was asked to recover his position. He had lost a good position just behind the leaders, however, he was relegated from third to seventh place quite quickly, and he did have to expend energy in order to pass those horses again.

Only fourth around the home turn and under pressure, he responded willingly for that pressure. It never looked likely that he was going to catch the impressive winner Uncle Jimmy, who went clear from the top of the home straight, but he stayed on really well over the final two flights to pass Drop Out Joe and Bygones Sovereign before they had reached the final flight, and he ensured that the winner had to be kept up to his work on the run-in.

This was a hugely encouraging run from Grand Vision on his second run back after almost two years off the track. He won two handicap hurdles as a novice in the spring of 2012 – in the latter, he had Alfie Sherrin and Cape Tribulation, both winners at the Cheltenham Festival the following month, behind him – and he himself ran a cracker to finish third in the Albert Bartlett Hurdle at that Cheltenham Festival.

He was off the track after that until he returned in a good handicap hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, in which he travelled well for a long way before stopping quite quickly after the third last and being pulled up. Saturday’s run was obviously another step forward, and there is every reason to believe that he can step forward again now. He may not be as keen on his next run now with this experience under his belt.

It seems like Terry Warner’s horse has been around for a long time, but he has only just turned eight, and he has raced just 10 times in his life and just eight times over hurdles. As such, he still has potential to progress again. The handicapper raised him 2lb for Saturday’s run, but that is more than fair, and it leaves him on a mark of 142, just 6lb higher than he was as a novice.

Interestingly, the two horses who finished ahead of him in the Albert Bartlett, the ill-fated Brindisi Breeze and the highly-talented Boston Bob, were rated 148 and 151 respectively before that race, while fourth-placed Lovcen won the Grade 1 three-mile novices’ hurdle at Aintree the following month, and was raised to a mark of 150. That was a really good Albert Bartlett, and Grand Vision has plenty of scope off a mark of 142.

The fact that he ran so well in the Albert Bartlett on his only run at a Cheltenham Festival augurs well for a return to the Festival this year. He looks like a ready-made Pertemps Final horse, and it would be surprising if Colin Tizzard was not training him with that race very much in mind now. There are not many firms betting on the Pertemps at present, but best odds of 25/1 are interesting.

11th January 2014