Horses To Follow » Parsnip Pete

Parsnip Pete

Parsnip Pete but up a really nice performance to win the ultra-competitive Red Rum Handicap Chase at Aintree on Thursday. This race was run at a frenetic pace, with Arnaud, Astracad and Sew On Target vying for the lead and sharing it until they rounded the home turn, and that ultimately favoured the hold-up horses, so it was a positive for Parsnip Pete that he started off towards the rear of the field. However, he steadily moved up through the field over the first four fences so that, when they passed the winning post with a circuit to run, he was no more than four lengths off the pace, and by the time they landed over the second fence in the back straight, he was sharing third place with Sew On Target, just a length and a half behind the leaders Arnaud and Astracad.

He moved into second place behind Astracad on leaving the back straight, and he actually picked up at the third last fence in front. That was plenty early enough in a race that had been run as strongly as this one was, but he picked up impressively over the last two fences to come away from his rivals, jumped the last fully four lengths clear, and kept on well up the run-in, always holding the fast-finishing Turn Over Sivola.

The winning of the race lay in the pace that Parsnip Pete showed between the third last fence and the last, and he was entitled to get a little tired on the run-in. Despite the fact that he only got home by a length and a half in the end, he was probably the best horse in the race by some way.

This was a good race, as it usually is. The second and third, Turn Over Sivola and Claret Cloak, were potentially well-handicapped going into the race, they are two progressive seven-year-olds who were well-backed, and they ran their races, yet neither was good enough to beat Parsnip Pete. Also, the race was strongly-run and the winning time was good, by far the fastest comparative time on the day.

Parsnip Pete is eight and he has raced 10 times over fences now, but this was a career-best from him, and he has the potential to progress further now. His three previous wins over hurdles or fences before Thursday were recorded at Southwell, Haydock and Newbury, all left-handed flat tracks, just as Aintree is. He did run well behind Eastlake at Cheltenham in December, but his best runs have been at Newbury, Haydock and now Aintree – the balance of probability says that he is at his best on a flat left-handed track. He has been raised 7lb for this win, but that is not harsh, and he will be of interest the next time he goes left-handed on a flat track, even off his revised mark. He is a two-mile specialist.

3rd April 2014