Horses To Follow » Many Clouds

Many Clouds

Many Clouds put up a really nice performance to win the Colin Parker Memorial Chase over two and a half miles at Carlisle on Sunday.

Always travelling well towards the outside, his jumping was accurate and efficient, and he moved up nicely on the outside of Holywell and Green Flag on the run around the home turn. It quickly became apparent that Oliver Sherwood’s horse was travelling better than the Gold Cup favourite, but Leighton Aspell held onto him until after he had jumped the second last. By then his main danger was favourite Eduard, who had been held up last of the five runner throughout, and who moved through to challenge at the second last fence. In truth, however, it never really looked like Nicky Richards’ horse was going to get to Many Clouds, and the winner horse stuck his neck out willingly, galloping on up the run-in to win nicely.

There was lots to like about this performance from Many Clouds. It was a strong race on paper, Holywell and Eduard were serious rivals. Okay so it was only a starting point for Holywell on the road back to Cheltenham in March, but it was also a starting point for Many Clouds. Also, Eduard was a really progressive novice chaser at the end of last season, he won his last three and he beat Valdez by 20 lengths at Ayr on his final run last term. Two and a half miles is probably his ideal distance, and there is every chance that he was forward enough for this. Eduard’s jumping was not overly fluent, but Many Clouds beat him well, and the pair of them pulled clear of Holywell.

Many Clouds himself was a really progressive novice chaser last season. He won a beginners’ chase at this meeting over Sunday’s course and distance last season, he was only beaten two lengths by RSA Chase winner O’Faolains in the Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot, and he was brought down early when quietly fancied for the RSA Chase itself.

A son of Cloudings, he is probably better on soft ground than on good ground, so he is a horse to follow through the winter when the ground gets even softer. He is only seven, he has run just seven times over fences now, and he has lots of scope for progression. It will be interesting to see what the handicapper does with his rating next week, hopefully he will not be too harsh, because the plan is apparently the Hennessy Gold Cup, and that is a legitimate plan. He still has to prove that he can stay an extended three and a quarter miles on soft ground, the best two runs of his life have now been over two and a half. That said, he was staying on again at the end of the Reynoldstown Chase last season over three miles, having got involved in a battle for the lead with Gevrey Chambertin from fully a mile and a half out, so there is every chance that he will stay. If he does, he will be a player in the Hennessy and in some of the good staying chases thereafter.

2nd November 2014