Horses To Follow » Un Beau Roman

Un Beau Roman

Un Beau Roman may not have not got the credit that he deserved for winning the two-and-a-quarter-mile handicap chase at Kempton on Saturday.

Weak in the market beforehand, Paul Henderson’s horse was a little keen through the very early stages of the race, but he jumped well for Wayne Hutchinson and he settled into a nice rhythm after three fences, second last of the six runners. He moved up nicely down the side of the track, still travelling well. He moved into fourth place as they jumped the final fence down the side, travelled well around the inside on the run around the home turn, and jumped the third last fence upsides The Clock Leary and Galway Jack in a share of the lead. He and Galway Jack moved on together on the run to the second last, but it was always apparent that Un Beau Roman was travelling better. He moved on on the run to the final fence, jumped that obstacle with his ears pricked, and ran all the way to the line to win by four and a half lengths from Galway Jack, who was 15 lengths clear of the remainder.

There was a sense that this race fell apart a little. Balgarry and Comeonginger both under-performed, and The Clock Leary faded quite dramatically after he had been headed. That said, Un Beau Roman could hardly have been any more impressive. He did have the race run to suit, he got a decent lead from The Clock Leary, but he travelled well throughout, his jumping was fluent and he posted a good time, 0.05secs/furlong faster than Racing Post par.

This was probably a bit of a surprise to connections, he was allowed go off at 20/1, almost three times as big a price as his stable companion Starkie, who was never travelling. That said, the son of Roman Saddle had shaped encouragingly on his previous run, his first run for Henderson since leaving Willie Mullins, in a two-mile handicap hurdle at Kempton’s Winter Festival. And he was a good horse for Mullins, he wasn’t beaten far by Chancol in the Grade 2 Craddockstown Chase at Punchestown as a novice in November 2014, and he finished second in a decent handicap chase at the Galway Festival last summer when racing off a mark of 131.

He raced off a mark of 132 on Saturday, and a 5lb hike for this win is fine. He has had plenty of racing, but he has just turned eight, and this was probably the best run of his life. He goes well right-handed, he has run well at Limerick and Galway and Punchestown in the past, and a fast pace suits him well. He may still be under-rated.

9th January 2016