Horses To Follow » Cold March

Cold March

Cold March put up a good performance to finish second behind the well-backed Keel Haul in the two-mile handicap chase at Wincanton on Saturday.

My Brother Sylvest and Oscar Hill set a fierce pace between them through the early stages of the race. They went a furious pace that never looked likely to last. Sure enough, the pair of them were treading water as they neared the entrance to the home straight. At that stage, Cold March, who had been held up disputing last place with the ultimate winner Keel Haul, had come under a little bit of pressure from Liam Treadwell, but he was responding to that pressure. He had left Keel Haul behind him by the time the turned for home, and he was closing on the leaders. Croco Bay travelled best of all on the run to the third last, but Cold March moved up nicely on his outside and joined him at the second last fence. When Venetia Williams’ horse got the better of Croco Bay between the last two fences, he looked by far the most likely winner, but James Davies conjured a late run from Keel Haul, who appeared to have been out-paced at the top of the home straight, to get up and beat him by a half a length.

It was still a fine run from Cold March. The winner was really well fancied, Cold March could have beaten him, and the winning time was really good, faster than Racing Post par. The Early March gelding has had plenty of racing in France, but Saturday’s run was effectively just his third for Venetia Williams since arriving in Britain – he fell at the first fence on his British debut. He was unlucky to get caught by Lost Legend on his previous run also, in a two-and-a-half-mile chase at Kempton, when he idled after hitting the front, and it may be that a return to two and a half miles will be optimal for him.

The handicapper raised him 3lb for Saturday’s run, which is more than fair. He is only five and he has raced just seven times over fences, so he still has the potential to go a fair way beyond that mark. He is entered in the two-and-a-half-mile novices’ handicap chase at Cheltenham, and his new mark of 140 just gets him in under the ceiling should connections decide to allow him take his chance in the race.

14th February 2015