Horses To Follow » Dresden


Dresden put up a really good performance to land a competitive two-mile chase at Ascot on Saturday. Settled at the front of the main body of the field by James Davies, behind three breakaway leaders, he made a significant mistake at the open ditch on the run into Swinley Bottom, but he still moved up nicely on the outside on the run around the bottom of the track. He moved up on the outside over the fourth last and third last, took up the running from Dunraven Storm on the run to the second last, and stayed on really strongly over the last and up the run-in to win by almost four lengths.

There was no let-up in the pace here. My Brother Sylvest could never get to the front, and as soon as Arkaim weakened at the fifth last fence, Dunraven Storm took up the running and pressed on for home. Dresden was never too far off the pace, and there was no obvious point in the race at which he was able to take a breather and fill his lungs. He pressed the leaders from the sixth last fence, and pressed for home from the top of the home straight, so it was to his credit that he was able to finish off his race as strongly as he did. He obviously possesses a lot of talent. The winning time was really good too, 0.11secs/furlong faster than Racing Post par, the joint fastest comparative time of the day, as fast as Vautour was in the Stella Artois Chase, carrying the same weight.

Henry Oliver’s horse was no better than a decent novice chaser last season, but he seems to be a different proposition this term. He was impressive in winning at Aintree in early November off a mark of 135, and he was racing off a 9lb higher mark on Saturday. The handicapper has raised him by another 5lb to a mark of 149 for Saturday’s win, and that is more than fair, he could have got 7lb or 8lb, and he is still interesting off his new mark. He looks like a stronger horse now, and he is just seven rising eight, so he could continue to strengthen and improve. His jumping wasn’t foot-perfect on Saturday either, so there is room for improvement there.

His trainer said after Saturday’s race that he is a sensitive horse, and they have started to travel him overnight, and perhaps that has resulted in his recent significant improvement. Whatever the reason, he is on a significant upward trajectory, and he is worth noting wherever he runs next. He goes well on good ground, but it was soft when he won at Aintree, and he handled the holding conditions at Ascot well. A fast-run two miles suits him really well and, as such, he will be of interest in any big-field handicap chase. He could be a Grand Annual horse or a Red Rum Chase horse.

21st November 2015