Horses To Follow » My Brother Sylvest

My Brother Sylvest

My Brother Sylvest ran a cracker to finish a close-up second to Brick Red in the two-mile handicap chase at Sandown on Saturday.

Weak in the market beforehand, David Pipe’s horse was a little crowded at the first fence, so he did well to jump it as fluently as he did as the field charged at it, and he took up a nice position, up on the outside of leader Arkaim. He was a little keener than ideal, which was understandable on his first run since November 2013, and he matched Arkaim fence for fence over the seven fences down the back straight. The pair of them set a good pace between them, so it would have been understandable if My Brother Sylvest had faded out of it, especially after such a long absence, as Arkaim did, but he didn’t. Coming under pressure as they left the back straight, he came back on the bridle on the run to the Pond Fence, jumped on over that fence and wheeled around the home turn. It looked like Brick Red was travelling better, but Venetia Williams’ horse came under pressure on the run to the second last, and the pair of them had a good scrap from there. Brick Red ultimately proved the stronger, but he only got home by a half a length from My Brother Sylvest, and the pair of them pulled well clear of their rivals, clocking a decent time. It was a good performance by the winner, but it was also a fine run by the runner-up.

My Brother Sylvest is nine years old now, but this was just his 10th chase and his first run for 14 months, so there is every reason to expect that he can progress again. A decent novice chaser two seasons ago, this run suggests that he could be even better now than he was then. Even though he handled the soft conditions on Saturday well, all his best form before this was on good ground. He could be even better back on better ground now. A 5lb hike is not harsh, it just brings him back up to his peak rating of 140, and he could be a horse for one of the big two-mile handicap chases in the spring, perhaps the Grand Annual at Cheltenham or the Red Rum Chase at Aintree.

31st January 2015