Horses To Follow » Baden


Yanworth was extraordinarily good in winning the Grade 2 Classic Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday but, although Baden could only finish fifth behind him, he ran well for a long way, he ran better than his finishing position suggests.

Nicky Henderson’s horse travelled well through the early stages of the race for Andrew Tinkler. His jumping was good, and he made nice ground down the far side. He stayed towards the inside throughout, which may have been a disadvantage. The better ground is usually towards the outside, and the outside route is the route that Barry Geraghty and Ruby Walsh followed on Yanworth and Shantou Village. It was rare that either Geraghty or Walsh get it wrong, and it is almost unheard of that they both get it wrong at the same time and, sure enough, they finished first and second.

As the field started the run down the hill, Baden and Yanworth were the only two horses who were still on the bridle. Yet, whereas Yanworth cruised through the race, Baden came under pressure after he landed over the second last and, while he came back on the bridle on the run around the home turn, he just couldn’t go with them when the front three quickened on the run to the final flight. He seemed to tire quite badly on the run up the hill, his race run.

This was just Baden’s second run over hurdles, and just the third run of his life under any code. Winner of his only point-to-point on fast ground at Bartlemy last May, he ran well on his debut over hurdles to finish second behind North Hill Harvey over two miles on soft ground at Cheltenham’s December meeting. Saturday’s run was not a step forward from that on the face of it, but he ran a lot better than his finishing position suggests. He should continue to progress as he strengthens up and gains in experience. He should interesting when he goes jumping fences, probably next season, but, in the interim, he will be of interest again in a good novice hurdle, ideally on better ground.

30th January 2016