Horses To Follow » Bouvreuil


Bouvreuil put up a promising performance on his British debut to finish third in the two-mile handicap hurdle at Sandown on Saturday.

Settled towards the rear of the field by talented conditional Sean Bowen, he was a little keener than ideal through the early stages of the race. He was up on the outside of runners, and just appeared to want to go a little faster than his rider wanted him to. His jumping was really fluent however, and he did settle into a nice rhythm by the time they jumped the second flight in the back straight. He moved up to dispute fourth place on the run out of the back straight, he moved up to the front of the main body of the field that chased the three breakaways, but there were still six lengths between the third horse and him, and that was a lot on ground on which it had been difficult to make ground from the rear all day. He still travelled well into the home straight, and he moved into third place on the run to the second last flight, but Rayvin Black and Balgarry also travelled well in front of him and, in the end, he just couldn’t bridge the gap. His early exertions probably took their toll from that point, but he still kept on up the hill to retain third spot, despite landing flat-footed over the final flight.

This was a really promising run. As above, it was a day on which it was difficult for the hold-up horses to make ground and, sure enough, the winner of this race, Rayvin Black, made all, while the third and fourth home, Balgarry and Rock On Rocky, raced handily. In fact, that trio formed the small group that broke away from the main body of the field just about from flagfall. Bouvreuil was the only one who was able to get in among them from the rear.

The Saddler Maker gelding has only just turned four, and this was his British debut and his first run for Paul Nicholls. He should improve for the experience, and he should do better when he learns to settle better, which he should do in time. The handicapper left him on his mark of 133, which is decidedly lenient – he raised the winner by 9lb and the runner-up by 5lb – he performed better than the bare form of the race suggests, and he has the potential to progress significantly now. He will be of interest wherever he goes next.

3rd January 2014