Horses To Follow » Ar Mad

Ar Mad

Ar Mad put up a really impressive performance to land the three-runner two-mile beginners’ chase at Sandown on Sunday. Sent into the lead from flagfall by Joshua Moore, the Tiger Groom gelding was quickly into a nice rhythm out in front, jumping accurately. Sirabad closed up to him as they started off down the back straight, but Ar Mad out-jumped Paul Nicholls’ horse at the first two fences in the back straight, and he was quickly out into a clear lead again. Fluent over the three Railway Fences, Golden Doyen loomed in behind him on the run to the Pond Fence as Sirabad weakened, but Ar Mad kicked away again on the run around the home turn, flew the second last and kept on well all the way to the line to record an impressive victory.

There is a chance that the quality of this performance will be under-rated. It was only a three-horse race, Stephanie Frances’ defection robbed the race of some of its lustre, and neither of Ar Mad’s two rivals jumped fluently. Also, when a 16/1 shot wins a three-horse race, there is a general tendency to treat the form with a degree of skepticism. On top of that, Ar Mad is rated just 124 over hurdles, he had 17lb to find with Golden Doyen and 13lb to find with Sirabad on hurdles ratings.

That said, Gary Moore’s horse could prove to be a far better chaser than hurdler. He had run once over fences before Sunday, at Plumpton 20 days previously, but he wore a hood that day – as he had on his last two runs over hurdles – and he appeared to resent being held up. He raced too keenly, and he jumped to his right. He was much happier on Sunday with no hood and allowed stride along in front. Also, the move to a right-handed track was probably no harm. He was very good, he jumped really well and he clocked a good time.

He may not have it as easy now, stepped up in grade and in bigger fields, but he will be of interest in the short term back on a right-handed track and at a front-runner’s track, and ideally in a small enough field in which it looks like he might have it to himself up front. A return to Sandown or a trip to Kempton would be ideal.

8th November 2015