Horses To Follow » Pinnacle Panda

Pinnacle Panda

Pinnacle Panda is quirky, he did plenty wrong in the two-and-a-half-mile novices’ handicap hurdle at Sandown on Saturday, including trying to throw it away on the run-in, but he clung on to win. He is obviously talented, and there could be plenty more to come.

Settled  last of the nine runners by Richard Johnson through the early stages of the race, he started to pick off rivals as they moved towards the end of the back straight final time. Under pressure around the home turn, he came back on the bridle among horses on the run to the second last flight, and he moved through to share the lead with Bon Enfant. He probably wasn’t helped by the fact that they had to by-pass the final flight, he appeared to be looking around him in front, not doing a lot, and another obstacle would probably have helped him. Then, about 150 yards from the winning line, he jinked markedly to his left, he almost threw it away, but Johnson managed to get him going again to just about maintain a half-length advantage at the line.

This was still a good performance from Tom Lacey’s horse. He got off the mark on heavy ground over two miles at Uttoxeter on his previous run, and he seemed to appreciate the soft ground again here, while seeing out the extra half-furlong. The handicapper has raised him 8lb to a mark of 128, but that is fair. He is only five, this was just his third run over hurdles, and he is open to further progression, particularly if his quirks get ironed our with further experience.

6th February 2016