Horses To Follow » Dresden


Dresden put up a really nice performance to win the two-mile handicap chase at Doncaster on Saturday.

Settled in last of six runners by James Davies through the early stages of the race, he was a little sketchy at one or two of his fences, but he warmed to his task as the race developed. He wasn’t helped when Kings Grey unseated his rider at the sixth last fence, and he appeared to get a little outpaced as Quicuyo and Robbie picked up from the front. However, ridden along at the top of the home straight, he made nice progress on the far side after the fourth last, he joined the leaders at the third last, jumped on at the second last, and kept on really well from there all the way to the line to post an impressive victory. He finished five lengths clear of Ifandbutwhynot, who kept on for second.

There was a sense that the pacemakers went too fast here, that they set it up for the horses who raced in behind. However, it is difficult to argue that Dresden was not the best horse on the day by some way. He did come under pressure early, but he closed on the leaders rapidly from the top of the home straight, and he really had the race in the bag from the second last fence. Also, he clocked a really fast time, faster than standard and the only time that went faster than Racing Post par on the day.

Henry Oliver’s horse is only seven, and this was just his fourth chase, so he has lots of scope for progression. There is plenty of room for improvement in the quality of his jumping, but that should come with experience, and he should be even better when his jumping does improve. The handicapper has raised him 7lb for Saturday’s win, but that is fair. It brings him up to a mark of 137, which is 10lb higher than his hurdles mark, but he is shaping like a better chaser already as he is maturing.

A fast-run two miles on good ground and probably on a flat track suits him really well. He will be interesting, therefore, if he makes the cut for the Grand Annual, but Cheltenham may not be his ideal track, he has been well beaten in two runs there over hurdles. He will be of interest if he lines up in the Red Rum Chase at Aintree, or really wherever he goes next. He hails from a small yard, and he has won a relatively low-profile race here, so he may be under-rated for now.

28th February 2015