Horses To Follow » Manyriverstocross


Manyriverstocross put up a really likeable performance to win the two-mile handicap chase at Ascot on Sunday.

Alan King’s horse travelled well just behind the pace through the early stages of the race, but he was a little keener than ideal. Even so, he travelled well around the home turn just behind leader Witness In Court, and moved on with Brick Red on the run to the second last. A better jump than his rival at that obstacle gave him the upper hand, and he surged into a one-length lead on the run to the last. He got in a little tight to that obstacle, however, and it appeared for a few strides as though Bellanos was going to get up on the far side to mug him. However, he appeared to pull out a little more for Wayne Hutchinson on the run to the line to fend off the Dan Skelton horse’s challenge and get home by a short head. Interestingly, the winner was still in front at the pull-up, despite the fact that the runner-up went around the corner after the line towards the inside. He probably had at least a little left to give.

There was a lot to like about this performance from Manyriverstocross. He had to have expended more energy than necessary in racing keenly through the early stages of the race behind what looked like just an ordinary pace. He should do even better off a faster pace. Also, for a horse who stays two and a half miles, he showed good pace in the home straight off that sedate enough early pace, and the winning time was good, the fastest comparative time on the day by a fair way, faster than standard and significantly faster than Racing Post par.

Manyriverstocross is nine now and, while he has raced 30 times in his life under all codes, this was just his fifth chase. Already he is at least as good over fences as he was over hurdles (he is a Grade 2 winner over hurdles and he was third in a Betfair Hurdle and in a County Hurdle), and he still has scope to progress over fences. It was interesting that Alan King said after Sunday’s race that he was a two-mile chaser, not a two-and-a-half-mile chaser, and it may well be that two miles and a fast pace represent optimum conditions for him. Very fast ground would be a worry, but he will be of interest if he runs again before the end of the season. Hopefully the handicapper will not be too harsh. He is not entered at Aintree, but he would be of interest if he ran at Ayr or Punchestown, of back at Cheltenham’s April meeting.

30th March 2014