Horses To Follow » Ted Spread

Ted Spread

Ted Spread was unlucky in the Sussex Champion Hurdle at Plumpton on Sunday. Held up through the early stages of the race by Tom O’Brien, he travelled noticeably well in rear, and all seemed to be going to plan, he was jumping well, until he was hampered quite badly at the first flight in the back straight when Dildar fell in front of him. He did well to remain on his feet, he had to jump over Dildar as he fell right in front of him and, as well as expending energy in the manoeuvre, he was knocked back from a nice position just hunting up the leaders to last of the nine remaining runners and playing catch-up.

O’Brien didn’t panic, however. He allowed his horse enough time to recover his equilibrium, and popped over the next flight, the third last, before asking Ted Spread for his effort. When he did, the response was positive. However, he had to go really wide around the home turn, foresaking ground, as Fergall kicked for home from the front. Fully six lengths behind the leader as they straightened up for the final two flights, he was making inroads into the lead, he had moved into third place and was just about to challenge second at the second last when stepped at the obstacle and slithered to the ground.

It is impossible to know for sure whether or not he would have caught Fergall, it is possible that he wouldn’t have, but he would almost certainly have finished second had he stood up, and, had he not been hampered at the fourth last flight, he could easily have won.

This was a good performance from Ted Spread, and it may have gone under the radar, a faller at the second last at Plumpton on a day when most National Hunt eyes would have been on Fairyhouse. He was a good horse on the Flat for Mark Tompkins, he won the Chester Vase in 2010 and ran in Workforce’s Derby. He lost his way a little with Paul Nicholls after a promising start over hurdles but, with Suzy Smith since the start of this season, there are signs that he is returning to close to his best now. If he does, he could be well-handicapped now on a mark of 130 – he was rated 108 on the Flat at his peak – and he would be interesting on the flat again now on a mark of 90. He has already shaped encouragingly in two runs on the flat at Lingfield for his current trainer.

20th April 2014