Horses To Follow » Allysson Monterg

Allysson Monterg

Allysson Monterg put up a really good performance to finish second to Champers On Ice in the two-and-a-half-mile novices’ hurdle that opened proceedings at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.

Always travelling well for Alain Cawley through the early part of the race, he moved up on the outside of leaders Champers On Ice as they ran around the home turn. As the pair of them pulled clear of useful rivals, it looked as is Richard Hobson’s horse was travelling the better of the two on the near side on the run to the final flight. In fairness to Champers On Ice, he did dig in well as they landed over the last, and he moved towards the favoured near rail. Consequently, Allysson Monterg had to switch to the far side, not only losing a little momentum, but also moving away from the favoured stands rail, but he rallied from there and he closed on the leader all the way to the line. In the end, he closed the margin to a neck, which wasn’t narrow enough to convince the stewards on the day to reverse placings, but the fact that they had a look told you that it might have been mighty close had the winner stayed straight.

This race may generally be under-rated, it was won by a horse who had been well beaten by Shantou Magic at Cheltenham’s November meeting, and a 33/1 shot chased him home. However, Champers On Ice had won at Newbury’s Hennessy meeting after he had been beaten at the November meeting, and the front pair pulled clear here of useful rivals and posted a good time, just 0.06secs/furlong slower than Racing Post par and just 0.9secs slower than the time that Camping Ground posted in winning the Relkeel Hurdle over the same course and distance later in the day, and Camping Ground is being quoted now for the Champion Hurdle as well as the World Hurdle.

Allysson Monterg was receiving 10lb from the winner, but it was still a fine effort. It was just the third run of his life, and just his second over hurdles. He had been green on his previous run at Leicester in December, his debut over hurdles. He was better here, but he should still improve for the experience. He may be just below the top novice hurdlers for now, but he has been given a handicap rating of 132, and that makes him really interesting for a big handicap hurdle. He is built to jump fences but, in the interim, there could be a decent handicap hurdle in him. He improved for the step up to two and a half miles here, and this looks like a good trip for him for now.

1st January 2016