Horses To Follow » Grand Jesture

Grand Jesture

Grand Jesture put up a good performance to win the two-mile-six-furlong handicap chase at Punchestown on Sunday. Always travelling well for Jonathan Burke just behind the leaders, the Henry de Bromhead-trained gelding made a slight mistake at the fourth last fence just as it looked like he was about to join the front rank. He was much better at the third last however, and that jump took him into a share of the lead with Sadler’sflaure as they rounded the home turn. It always looked like he was travelling better than Jessica Harrington’s horse, and he rose to the second last fence with a slight lead as the front two came clear of their rivals. He went about a length clear by the time they reached the final fence, he jumped that well and came away on the run-in, ears pricked, leaving the impression that he had a fair bit more in hand than the three-length winning margin.

This was a nice performance from Alan Potts’ horse. A progressive novice chaser last season, he rounded off his campaign with a fine run to finish second to British raider Chartreux in the Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase at the Punchestown Festival off a mark of 128, when he had good handicappers like Wrong Turn and Heaney and Away We Go behind him. That was just his fourth chase, Sunday’s was just his fifth, and it was his seasonal debut. He is still just six, he should come on for his seasonal debut, and there is every chance that he can progress significantly now as a staying chaser.

The handicapper has raised him 7lb for this to a mark of 139, but a hike of that magnitude was merited, and he is progressive enough to take it in his stride. He stays three miles well, and all the valuable three-mile chases are options for him now. He is entered in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, and that is a legitimate target. Interestingly, last year’s winner of Sunday’s race, Daring Article, was running well in the Paddy Power under an 8lb penalty when he fell at the sixth last fence, while the 2012 winner, Glenquest, finished fourth in the Paddy Power off a mark that was 6lb higher than his Punchestown mark.

7th December 2014