Horses To Follow » If In Doubt

If In Doubt

If In Doubt ran a fine race to finish second to the hugely impressive Saphir Du Rheu in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton on Saturday. Held up in the early stages of the race, his jumping was a little novicey at first. He made several mistakes early on, and he came under pressure from AP McCoy after he landed a little awkwardly among runners at the final flight in the back straight, so he did well to manoeuvre himself into a position from which he could mount a challenge. In truth, there was no real challenger to the winner, Saphir Du Rheu won with plenty in hand, but If In Doubt kept on really well over the final two flights on the far side, on the worst of the ground, to finish second, a length ahead of Like Minded in third with the first three clear.

If In Doubt has just turned six and, after just six races over hurdles now, he still has plenty of scope for progression. The handicapper has raised him just 3lb for this, which is more than fair, considering the winner was raised 13lb to a mark of 158, and there could be a decent handicap in him off a mark of 135. He stays two and a half miles well, he could get three miles well on this performance, so the stiff extended two and a half miles of the Coral Cup could be ideal for him.

Also, he could be better-suited by Cheltenham’s undulations – both his previous wins were achieved at Towcester, and he was a beaten favourite at Ffos Las and Wincanton, both flat tracks – than he was by Kempton’s flat terrain. He will be of interest wherever he goes next, especially if he returns on an undulating track.

11th January 2014