Horses To Follow » Boondooma


Boondooma put up a really impressive performance to win what looked beforehand like a competitive two-mile handicap chase at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Fairly weak in the market beforehand and free to post, Dr Richard Newland’s horse was sent to the front from flagfall by Will Kennedy. Usually if you are leading Next Sensation, you are going too fast, and that appeared to be the case with Boondooma as he led Michael Scudamore’s horse over the first three fences. The pair of them went toe to toe down the back straight, and it looked like Next Sensation was getting the upper hand on the run to the fourth last fence, but a mistake there knocked Next Sensation back.

There was no let up for Boondooma, however, as De Faoithesdream, another regular front-runner who had sat in third through the early exchanges behind the two front-runners, challenged immediately, and actually went into a slender lead as they rounded the turn at the top of the hill. Kennedy didn’t relinquish the inside run, however, and that probably helped Boondooma considerably. He got back on terms on the run down the hill, and by the time they jumped the third last fence, he was back in front.

Dunraven Storm appeared to be travelling well at that point, Turn Over Sivola looked to be a threat, and Workbench looked to be a big threat on the run to the final fence. However, Boondooma found lots in front, and he stayed on strongly up the hill and all the way to the line to post an impressive victory.

This was a really good performance by the Westerner gelding. He was probably forced into going too fast too early, Next Sensation and De Faoithesdream are often tearaway front-runners, and Boondooma led them both from early, the three of them well clear of the body of the field. Also, this was the winner’s first run in 308 days, since he won a novices’ chase at Haydock last December. It was a fine run.

Boondooma is very interesting now. Rated 137 over hurdles, his two runs over fences last December as a novice were most encouraging, and he has obviously progressed again since then. The handicapper raised him 7lb for this win to a mark of 154, but he retains lots of scope for progression, this was just his fourth run over fences.

There was talk afterwards of the Paddy Power Gold Cup, and that is interesting. He won over two and a half miles over hurdles, and the step up in trip should allow him gain an easier lead than he can get over two. He is a winner at Cheltenham now and, as long as he doesn’t ‘bounce’ for this comeback run, he will be of interest wherever he goes next.

24th October 2015