Horses To Follow » War Singer

War Singer

War Singer did well to keep on as well as he did to finish second behind Sleepy Haven in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle at Kempton on Saturday.

Johnny Farrelly’s horse was keener than ideal through the early stages of the race, just as he had been when he finished third behind Snake Eyes and Amore Alato at Sandown on Tingle Creek Chase weekend. Kept to the outside, presumably in search of better ground, he was always just doing a little more than Nick Scholfield wanted him to, and eventually, at the fourth last flight, his rider allowed him stride on.

That was obviously earlier than ideal. The ground was holding at Kempton on Saturday, and it was a long way from the fourth last flight to the winning line. War Singer put four lengths between himself and his field by the time they reached the end of the back straight, and there was a point on the run to the final flight at which you thought that he might just hold on, but Sleepy Haven finished strongly, and he joined the leader at the final flight before going on to win by two and a half lengths. Even so, War Singer kept on well to finish second, over four lengths clear of the remainder.

It was a good run from War Singer, he ran a lot better than the bare form of the race suggests. The form of his Sandown run is working out well through Sleepy Haven himself, who was behind him there, and fourth-placed Ruacana, who won a good handicap hurdle at Musselburgh on New Year’s Day, and there should be better to come from War Singer if he can learn to settle in the early stages of his races.

The handicapper has raised him 4lb to a mark of 128 but, rated 84 on the flat, that is a mark off which he should be able to win a decent handicap hurdle. A bigger field should produce the cover and the fast pace that should help him settle. A mark of 128 may not be high enough to get him into the Betfair Hurdle but, if he does happen to get into it, he will be an interesting outsider. If he doesn’t, he will be of interest wherever he goes next, especially if it looks like the style of the race will help him settle through the early stages.

10th January 2015