Horses To Follow » Hawk High

Hawk High

Hawk High probably did not get due recognition when he won the Fred Winter Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March – all the post-race focus was on how unlucky Katgary was, after he had been hampered by Clarcam’s fall at the second last flight – and it is possible that he will not get the credit that he deserves for winning the two-mile handicap hurdle at Aintree on Saturday.

Settled towards the rear of the field in the early stages of the race by Brian Hughes, he was hampered at the middle flight in the back straight when Wadswick Court fell in front of him. He was quickly back on an even keel, however, he travelled well into the home straight and he moved up in behind the leaders on the run to the final flight. It was there that the two leaders, Cool Macavity and Garde La Victoire, made fairly significant and similar mistakes. The pair of them got in tight to the obstacle and clouted the top of it. That did provide Hawk High with an opportunity, but his rider hadn’t really gone for him at that point anyway. When he did, on landing over the last, he picked up nicely and he kept on really well up the run-in to repel the renewed effort of early leader Eagle Rock. Cool Macavity and Garde La Victoire’s chances were obviously compromised by their errors at the last, but Hawk High won with plenty in hand, and Tim Easterby’s horse may have won anyway even if his two better-fancied rivals had jumped the final flight cleanly.

This was a really good performance by Hawk High, it was a good, solid race, run at a good pace, and the winning time equalled the course record. Also, his owner’s racing manager said afterwards that they did not think he was fully fit for this, his seasonal debut, that they expected him to come on for the run. Hawk High is still only four, this was just his seventh race over hurdles, and he continues to progress. He is probably at his best on good ground, so he may not be seen to best effect in the depths of winter, but he will be of interest if he runs again before the ground gets too soft, and he will be of definite interest again in the spring.

25th October 2014