Horses To Follow » Valdez


Valdez was running a cracking race on his seasonal debut off top weight in the two-mile handicap chase at Chepstow on Saturday before he came down at the second last fence. In a race that was dominated by Grey Gold and Upsilon Bleu, both of whom raced handily from flagfall, Valdez did well to move through the field to challenge those two on the run to the second last fence, and he looked the most likely winner before he got that obstacle all wrong and came down.

An above-average novice hurdler two seasons ago, Alan King’s horse progressed markedly last season as a two-mile novice chaser, winning his first three races, including the Grade 2 Lightning Chase at Doncaster in January, and running well to finish a close-up fifth in the Arkle at Cheltenham. He disappointed at Ayr on his next run, when he jumped continually to his right, but he was found after that to have been suffering from a kissing spine, and he looked to be on great terms with himself on Saturday. Hopefully he will be okay after what was an awkward-looking fall.

The handicapper raised him 7lb for Saturday’s run, which was a little harsh, given that he fell at the second last fence. Interestingly, the handicapper only raised the winner by 4lb and the runner-up by 3lb. That said, Valdez is only seven, Saturday’s run was just his sixth over fences, and he has lots of scope for further progress. By Doyen, he handles soft ground well, so he will be of interest in some of those good two-mile chases through the winter. Also, he seemed to stay two and a half miles on the one occasion on which he tried the trip over hurdles, so he is worth trying over that trip.

25th October 2014