Horses To Follow » The Druid’s Nephew

The Druid’s Nephew

The Druids Nephew made a satisfactory seasonal debut at Huntingdon on Wednesday under AP McCoy, running out a relatively easy winner of a three-mile chase in the end. This race did not take as much winning as it might have, the defections of Carrigmorna King, Deciding Moment and According To Treve removed a significant competitive element and turned a seven-horse race into a four-horse race. Even so, Kilbree Kid is a progressive young chaser, for all that the ground may have been softer than ideal for him, while Chapolimoss is capable on his day, but neither were able to get close to The Druid’s Nephew.

A couple of things about this performance by the winner. Firstly, he jumped to his left, quite markedly on occasion. His only win over fences before this was at Wincanton, a right-handed track, while his only win over hurdles was at Kempton, also a right-handed track. But he did jump to his left on occasion that day at Wincanton – and it was only a three-horse race – and you have to think that, on Tuesday’s evidence, he will be better now on a left-handed track. One of his best runs last season was when he finished a half-length second to De La Bechin a three-mile handicap chase at Chepstow, a left-handed track.

Secondly, this was his first run for Neil Mulholland, and there is a chance now that he can improve significantly for his new surroundings. He may also have improved for the addition of McCoy, who had never ridden him before. The King’s Theatre gelding did promise much last season, and the season before, when he was with Andy Turnell, but he never quite delivered on that promise. Sixth in the two-and-a-half-mile novices’ handicap chase at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival, he did not win at all last year, but he ran a big race that day behind De La Bech at Chepstow off a mark of 132, and he was pulled up in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster in January, after which we did not see him until last Tuesday.

The break should have done him good, and he has obviously returned on good terms with himself. This run should have brought him forward again. He retains a lot of potential, he is still only seven, and there could be a decent handicap chase in him now in the early part of the season. The handicapper should not really be too hard on him for this win. He handles soft ground and he stays three miles. If he could get further, it would open up more options for him. Perhaps a more competitive race with a stronger pace in which he wouldn’t have to make his own running would iron out his tendency to jump right, so he will be of interest wherever he goes next, but particularly if he is back on a left-handed track.

14th October 2014