Horses To Follow » Marracudja


Marracudja put up a really likeable performance to win the two-mile novices’ chase at Cheltenham on Friday. Allowed bowl along in front by Nick Scholfield, he jumped really well out in front and quickly had his rivals stretched. It looked like he might have gone too fast, that he might have raced too freely, and it looked like Baron Alco – who hunted him around – was set to deliver a telling challenge as he closed between the final two fences. But Marracudja jumped the last fence well, and he kept on really well up the hill to withstand the late lunge of Presenting Arms. He had more energy left for the closing stages than it looked like he might have, given how free he was and how fast he went through the early stages of the race.

It was a good performance from Paul Nicholls’ horse. Baron Alco was a good hurdler and was well-backed on this, his chasing bow, while Presenting Arms is a talented chaser. Marracudja was good, he clocked a fast time, just 0.01secs/furlong slower than Racing Post par, and he should be even better when he learns to settle a little better on front.

This was just his second chase, he was impressive in winning in a good time at Newton Abbot on his chasing bow three weeks earlier, and he is only five, so he has bags of scope for progression. It was interesting that trainer Paul Nicholls said afterwards that he may not run at Cheltenham again, that flat tracks suit him better, so it is not worth considering him as a betting proposition for the Arkle, not yet anyway, not ante post. However, there is a strong programme of races for him at flatter tracks, which include the Henry VII Chase at Sandown and the Wayward Lad Chase at Kempton, followed by the Scilly Isles Chase back at Sandown if he can step up to two and a half miles, and the Maghull Chase at Aintree.

21st October 2016