Horses To Follow » Fox Appeal

Fox Appeal

Fox Appeal ran a big race to finish second behind Rebel Rebellion in the two-mile-five-furlong handicap chase at Ascot on Saturday.

Settled at the back of the field by Richie McLernon through the early stages of the race, he stuck limpet-like to the inside. He jumped well in the main, in a nice even rhythm. A mistake at the fifth last fence did not help, but he still travelled well in fourth place up on the inside, just about two and a half lengths of the leader Rebel Rebellion, as they rounded the home turn.

He came off the rail at that point, but he got in tight to the second last fence and landed a little flat-footed. The leader kicked for home at that point, but it wasn’t until half way between the final two fences that Fox Appeal was asked for his effort. When he was, he picked up nicely, flew the final fence and closed on the leader all the way to the line. But it is difficult to make up ground at Ascot on a leader who isn’t stopping, and Emma Lavelle’s horse came up a length short.

There could still be a big pot in the Brian Boru gelding. He was just below the top novices last season, he beat Raya Star in a Grade 2 contest at Ascot as a novice and he finished close up behind Wonderful Charm, Valdez and Balder Succes in three other Grade 2 novice chases. He was well beaten by Al Ferof in the Amlin Chase in November this season, but he shaped well in a three-horse race at Kempton a week before Saturday’s race, when he split Balder Succes and Hunt Ball on disadvantageous terms.

The handicapper has raised him 3lb for Saturday’s run, which leaves him on a mark of 152, but he could still be well handicapped on that mark. He was unlucky to meet a well-handicapped rival who had the run of the race on Saturday, and the pair of them pulled clear and posted a good time. He goes well at right-handed tracks, he goes well on soft ground, and he stays two and a half miles well.

17th January 2015