Horses To Follow » Hester Flemen

Hester Flemen

There was a lot to like about the performance that Hester Flemen put up in landing the three-mile-one-furlong handicap chase at Catterick on Tuesday.

Weak in the market before this, her chasing debut, Nicky Richards’ mare was sent into an early lead by Brian Harding. Jumping well and setting a strong even tempo, she immediately had one of her four rivals, Central Flame, in trouble, and that rival was quickly followed by second favourite Seldom Inn. Leaving the back straight, her two remaining rivals, Racing Europe and Warriors Tale came under pressure and she came nicely away from them over the second last fence. She got in a little tight to the final obstacle, and that gave her immediate pursuer Racing Europe a chance. She had a chance to chuck it there, and she might have done if she had been very tired, but she picked up again on the run-in and came away to post an impressive victory.

This was only a five-runner, Class 3 beginners’ chase at Catterick, but it was a solid-looking contest beforehand. Racing Europe was nicely backed, while Warriors Tale went into the race with a rating of 142, having been just beaten by Spookydooky in a handicap chase at Newbury’s Hennessy meeting off a mark of 135. Perhaps a couple of the winner’s rivals did not run their races, but Racing Europe did, he gives a good solid look to the form, and the winning time was really good, just 0.51secs/furlong slower than standard on soft ground and almost bang on Racing Post par.

Hester Flemen herself won the second of her two point-to-points in January 2014, and she was impressive in winning her bumper last December at Carlisle. On her only run over hurdles, at Newcastle last January, she battled on well to beat Jennys Melody, the pair of them clear, and Jennys Melody has won her only three races since.

This performance by Hester Flemen may be under-rated, she did have it all to herself up front on a tight track, and it was at low-profile Catterick on a low-profile Tuesday afternoon, but it was impressive, and she should be able to build on it. This was her first chase, and it was just her third run under Rules. She is a big strapping mare, and she could do even better on a more galloping track. She would be of interest in a mares’ novices’ chase, but she would also be of interest against the geldings again getting the 7lb allowance, possibly even up a little in grade and consequently at a bigger price. All her form is on soft or heavy ground, so she will be of interest through the winter now.

15th December 2015