Horses To Follow » Nichols Canyon

Nichols Canyon

The Grade 1 Royal Bond Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Sunday was not as strong a contest as it might have been. Erstwhile Supreme Novices’ Hurdle favourite Allez Colombieres was pulled up early on and the Dermot Weld-trained Tandem didn’t appear to run his race. That said, there was a lot to like about the performance that Nichols Canyon put up in winning the race, and he is an exciting novice now.

Two significant positives about this run. Firstly, he settled well, better than he had settled on his debut over hurdles at Cork four weeks previously. Secondly, his jumping was good, fast and sharp and accurate. The visual impression that he created could hardly have been better, he travelled well through the race, he moved up nicely on the outside on the run to the final flight and he came away impressively. Also, he handled this yielding ground well, for a horse who was at his best on soft ground on the flat.

The Authorized gelding was high class on the flat when with John Gosden. He won two listed races at the back-end of his three-year-old season in 2013, one at Ascot and one at Saint-Cloud, and he finished a close-up second behind Cubanita in the Group 3 St Simon Stakes in between those two runs. He rounded off his three-year-old season with a flat mark of 111, awarded after that listed race win at Saint-Cloud, when he had Inis Meain four lengths behind him in second place. Obviously, if he can translate his flat form to hurdles, he could be a really classy hurdler. Also, he stayed a mile and six furlongs well on the flat, so he could do even better stepped up to two and a half miles now.

30th November 2014