Horses To Follow » Camping Ground

Camping Ground

Camping Ground put up a really nice performance to win the Class 2 two-and-a-half-mile chase at Warwick on Saturday on his British debut, and he could be a horse who is worth following.

Really strong in the market beforehand, Robert Walford’s horse travelled strongly and jumped well in front for Paul Townend. He ceded the lead to Al Alfa on his inside at the fourth last fence. Unperturbed, he travelled well up on the outside of the new leader around the home turn, moved to the front again on landing over the second last fence, jumped the last about two lengths in front and came away on the run-in to post an impressive victory.

There was a lot to like about this performance. He was keener than ideal, which was understandable on his first run for a new trainer in a new country, and his first in over 11 months. He should do even better when he settles better, which he should do with this seasonal debut under his belt. Also, he remained unruffled when he was joined on the inside by Al Alfa, he stayed on well, he left talented rivals like Wilton Milan and Tenor Nivernais in his wake, giving them weight, and he recorded a decent time, the second fastest comparative time on the day, second to Vibrato Valtat in the Kingmaker Chase.

Camping Ground is only five, and this was just his ninth run under Rules and just his fourth chase. This run was also his seasonal debut and his first run for Robert Walford, his first in Britain, so it is reasonable to expect improvement from this run, possibly significant improvement. Given how strong he was in the pre-race market, it is also reasonable to assume that he was impressing at home. The handicapper raised him 9lb to a mark of 154, but he is obviously talented, and he has the potential to take a hike of that magnitude in his stride. He saw out this two-and-a-half-mile trip well, but it may be that this is as far as he wants to go. He is by the miler Goldneyev out of a Pennekamp mare. He could be one for the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase at Cheltenham this year, the old Mildmay of Flete, but it may be that he proves to be better than a handicapper in time.

7th February 2015