Horses To Follow » Andy Kelly

Andy Kelly

Andy Kelly did well to finish as close as he did in the two-mile-three-furlong handicap chase at Ascot last Saturday, given that he raced prominently in a race in which it was probably a significant advantage to race away from the pace.

Quickly into a nice rhythm for Graham Watters in third place, behind the two clear leaders Johnny Og and Dusky Lark, he appeared to jump well throughout, from what we could see through the fog, and he moved into second place ahead of the weakening Johnny Og and behind Dusky Lark as they jumped the third last fence. He loomed up on the outside of the leader around the home turn, apparently travelling better, but he came under pressure on the run to the second last, and a fairly significant mistake there effectively ended his chance, as the hold-up horses were assembling behind him. Just fourth jumping the last fence, he was run down by Overtown Express for that position, but he still kept on bravely for fifth, and the first five were clear.

The winner Poker School finished well clear, but he was the beneficiary of a superb waiting ride by Donagh Meyler, well out the back. Also, he was very strong in the market, and he followed up by winning a novices’ handicap chase at Kempton on St Stephen’s Day off an 8lb higher mark. He is obviously a talented and progressive chaser. Andy Kelly was only fifth, but he was only four lengths behind the second horse, Dusky Lark, and, like the runner-up, he was probably not advantaged by racing handily.

This was just Andy Kelly’s third chase, just his second if you don’t count his run at Kempton in November, when he unseated early. An impressive winner of a novices’ handicap chase at Plumpton in October on his chasing bow off a mark of 123, he raced off a mark of 131 last Saturday, and it was surprising that the handicapper dropped him 1lb back to 130. That is a mark off which there should be a decent handicap chase in him. He does go well at Ascot, he was only just beaten in a good handicap hurdle there in December 2013 on his only previous run at the track, so he will be of particular interest when he returns there, perhaps ridden a little more patiently. This intermediate distance appears to be a good trip for him.

17th December 2016