Horses To Follow » Doctor Phoenix

Doctor Phoenix

The graduation chase that Doctor Phoenix won at Haydock on Friday was only a three-horse race, but it was a good three-horse race, and he was impressive in winning it.

The winner’s cause was helped by the fact that morning favourite Solar Impulse made a significant mistake at the first fence, and that he was always on the back foot from that point, but Solar Impulse still ran well, and the third member of the triumvirate Kings Lad is a talented individual who is worth his rating of 145.

There was a lot to like about the performance that Doctor Phoenix put up. Strong in the market all morning and ultimately sent off the warm favourite, David Dennis’ horse settled nicely behind Kings Lad through the early stages of the race, jumped well and, when he struck the front at the second last fence, he always looked likely to win. He stayed on well up the run-in to win nicely, leaving the impression that he had more in hand than the two-length winning margin.

The Dr Massini gelding was reportedly a weak horse last season, his first over hurdles. Switched to fences this term, he was impressive in winning at Lingfield 10 days earlier on his second run over fences. This was another step forward from that.

The handicapper gave him a mark of 141 after Friday’s performance, 9lb higher than the mark that he had going into the race, but that is fair. Even on the bare form of the run it is fair, given that he beat the 145-rated Kings Lad by two lengths receiving 7lb from him. However, Doctor Phoenix has the potential to go a fair bit higher than that. He is only seven, this was just his third chase, and he is a big scopey chasing type who is only just filling his frame. As well as that, he has the potential to improve further when he steps up in trip. He beat the useful Yala Enki in a two-and-a-half-mile hurdle on soft ground at Uttoxeter last March. He is an exciting prospect, he goes well on soft ground, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next.

20th November 2015