Horses To Follow » Somchine


Somchine only just got home by a neck in the end from the fast-finishing Call Me Vic in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase at Wincanton on Saturday, but it is difficult to argue that he was not the best horse in the race on the day by a fair way.

Settled towards the rear of the field and on the outside by Andy Thornton in the early stages of the race, he travelled well and he jumped well in the main. He was conceding ground by going wide, but he probably gained as much by racing on better ground. He moved well into the home straight, and he moved into the lead at the third last fence. About three lengths clear at the second last, he winged that fence. That jump gave the impression that he was a horse who still had plenty of energy left, and it set up what looked like a race-winning advantage.

He didn’t meet the final fence on a stride, however, he got in tight, popped it, and landed without momentum, which gave his pursuers a chance. Call Me Vic closed rapidly on the near side, but Somchine kept on well enough to get home by a diminishing neck.

There were a couple of things to like about this performance from Seamus Mullins’ horse. Firstly, he jumped and travelled well. Secondly, he settled better than he did on his previous run at Taunton. It was his third time to race in a hood, and it looks like he is learning to settle in it. Thirdly, he was able to win the race despite the fact that he was weak in the market. He drfited from 7/1 to an SP of 10/1 within the space of a few minutes before the off. Fourthly, this was his first attempt at an extended two and a half miles over fences, and he just about got home. He could be better back at two miles or two and a quarter miles. Alternatively, it could be that he was just idling in front a little, and that wasn’t helped by his deliberate jump at the last.

The Volochine gelding has just turned seven, and this was just his third race over fences. He won on his chasing bow at Fontwell in November, and then didn’t do badly on his second and only previous run over fences at Taunton, considering that it was the day after he won his beginners’ chase.

A 105-rated hurdler, he is already a better chaser than he was a hurdler. He raced on Saturday off a mark of 112, and the handicapper has raised him 5lb, which is fair. He has lots of scope for progression, and he still has scope to win a better class handicap off his new mark, perhaps dropped a little in trip.

3rd January 2014