Horses To Follow » Warden Hill

Warden Hill

Warden Hill ran a lot better than his finishing position in fourth place suggests in the two-and-a-half-mile novices’ chase at Carlisle on Sunday.

Mick Channon’s horse travelled and jumped well through the early stages of the race for Brian Hughes, but he made a mistake at the second fence down the back straight, and his confidence seemed to suffer as a result. He was always playing catch-up from that point, and, whereas before that error he had been efficient and assured at his fences, after it he was deliberate and careful. This was most pronounced at the third last fence, when his jump was high and deliberate and careful and which caused him to lose several lengths and lots of momentum.

Even so, he stayed on well over the last two fences. It never looked likely that he would get to the winner Big Water, but he stayed on up the run-in to finish a close-up fourth, beaten just a neck and the same for second.

The Presenting gelding was a nicely progressive staying hurdler last season. A second-season novice last term, he stayed on well to win over three miles at Doncaster in December, he wasn’t disgraced in the Group 2 River Don Hurdle in January, and he rounded off the campaign by running a good and close second under top weight in a three-mile handicap hurdle at Bangor in March. Like a lot of the Radford horses, however, he is bred and built for chasing. He has the scope to out-strip his hurdles rating of 135 by a fair way. He should benefit from this, his chasing bow, and he should do a lot better once his confidence over fences has been restored. He should also improve for stepping up in trip from two and a half miles to three or even further.

2nd November 2014