Horses To Follow » Gilgamboa


Gilgamboa put up a really impressive performance in winning his beginners’ chase at Navan on Sunday at his first attempt. Always travelling well in second or third place for Mark Walsh behind the clear leader Blood Cotil, JP McManus’ horse jumping was really accurate and efficient for a debutant. He moved up nicely on the far side after the third last fence, joined Blood Cotil at the second last, picked up just about in front at the last, at which he was just as good as he had been at all his fences, and moved on really nicely up the hill to win well, under just a hands-and-heels ride.

This was a really nice performance from the Enda Bolger-trained gelding. Runner-up Blood Cotil set a fair standard, a 140-rated hurdler who had already had the benefit of a run over fences, in a beginners’ chase at Cork last January which he surely would have won had he not fallen at the second last. Also, the front three – the promising Henry de Bromhead horse Viconte De Noyer was third – finished nicely clear of another promising horse in Empire Of Dirt, a progressive novice hurdler last season and wlnner of a listed contest at Naas in March.

Gilgamboa himself was a really exciting novice hurdler last season. He won the big Boylesports Hurdle at Leopardstown in January off a mark of 128, a novice who had raced just three times previously over hurdles in among hardened experienced hurdlers. That was strong handicap hurdle form. The runner-up was Flaxen Flare, a top class handicap hurdler, the third horse was Quick Jack, who won a big handicap on the flat at the Galway Festival on his next run and finished third in the Cesarewitch on his next, and the first three finished well clear of the fourth horse.

The son of Westerner was quietly fancied for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on the back of that run, and he was still bang there just behind the leaders in that race when he made a bad mistake at the second last flight. He is built to jump fences anyway, and he jumps them really well. It is probable that he will be a better chaser than he was a hurdler, and he could take a high rank among the novice chasers this season. He goes well on soft ground, and he has lots of pace, so two miles suits him well for now, although he did win a two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle at Punchestown last season.

9th November 2014