Horses To Follow » Buywise


Buywise ran a fairly eye-catching race to finish fifth in the Rewards4Racing Chase at Cheltenham on Tuesday. Held up out the back in a race in which it was an advantage to race handily, he made a fairly bad mistake at the third last fence on the first circuit, but settled into a nice rhythm after that, for all that he was wider than ideal and further back in the field than ideal.

He wasn’t fluent at the sixth last fence, and he left his hind legs behind him at the fourth last, the final open ditch, in a real jolting error that should really have ended any chance that he had. So it was to his immense credit that he was able to manoeuvre his way back into contention. He moved nicely in behind the leaders on the run down the hill, but another mistake at the third last fence saw him come under pressure. He did respond to that pressure, and was not completely out of it as they turned for home, but he jumped the second last awkwardly and lost his hind legs on landing. That ended any chance he had of even being placed. Even so, he got going again, jumped the last fence well and finished best of all by far to take fifth place.

There were two main things to like about this performance from Evan Williams’ horse. Firstly, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that he would have been involved in the finish had he jumped even a little better. Even if he hadn’t sprawled on landing over the second last, he would have been a lot closer. He was only beaten a total of seven lengths in the end, and it is not stretching it to say that that error alone had to have cost him at least three or four in terms of ground and momentum.

Secondly, this run proved that he could operate on good ground. After his racecourse debut in a hunters’ chase at Kelso last April, his subsequent five runs had all been on heavy ground, and his three wins over fences had all been on heavy ground. Even though he was beaten here, it was still probably a career-best.

It may well be that the better ground, and the consequent faster pace, forced him into jumping errors, and that he will be even better again now returned to a softer surface. Or it may be that he will benefit hugely for this experience, and that he will be more adept on a better surface from now on as a result. Either way, he will be of big interest whenever he runs next. He is only seven, this was just his fifth chase and just his seventh run in total under all codes, so he has bundles of scope for progression. The handicapper left him on his mark of 134, and that is a mark off which he could be able to win a big handicap.

11th March 2014