Horses To Follow » Vic De Touzaine

Vic De Touzaine

Vic De Touzaine did well to finish third in the three-mile handicap chase at Sandown on Saturday. Setting off last of the 10 runners, Venetia Williams’ horse’s jumping left plenty of room for improvement. He got in tight and hopped the first two fences, the first two Railway Fences on the first circuit, and he made a mistake at the second last fence on the first circuit. He did warm up a little after that and he made nice ground from the rear down the back straight. Fifth as they arrived at the Railway Fences final time, a significant mistake at the last of them didn’t help, it meant that he was only seventh as they raced to the end of the back straight, about seven lengths behind the leader. He did come back on the bridle as Aidan Coleman gave him time to recover, but he was in tight to the Pond Fence and he wasn’t great at the last, before he battled on up the run-in to finish third behind the runaway winner Bishops Road, just failing by a neck to catch Mr Muddle for second.

It was a fine run. It was difficult to make ground on the heavy ground at Sandown on Saturday, and this race was dominated by those who raced prominently. The first two home, Bishops Road and Mr Muddle, were in the group of three that led the field from flagfall. And Vic De Touzaine started off in last place. He managed to get past seven of his nine rivals.

His jumping was not great, but that is more a positive than a negative. This was just his second steeplechase, so his jumping should improve as he gains in experience. And he was good over the first five fences in the back straight, so his technique is there. He just needs to jump consistently well now and, when he does, his form could improve significantly.

Raced twice in France in the autumn of 2013, he made his debut for Venetia Williams in a maiden hurdle at Chepstow in November, his first run in over two years. He ran well then in a novice hurdle back at Chepstow two weeks later, and he improved on his hurdles form when he finished second in a novices’ handicap chase at Fontwell in early December on his chasing debut off a mark of 117. He raced off a mark of 120 on Saturday, and the handicapper left him on that mark afterwards, which was more than fair. He could have raised him by 3lb or 4lb. He raised the winner by a stone. There could be a good handicap in Vic De Touzaine off his mark of 120 now.

2nd January 2016