Horses To Follow » Blazer


Blazer ran well for a long way in the two-and-a-half-mile beginners’ chase at Cork last Saturday.

Travelling well just behind the leader Uncle Danny from early for Barry Geraghty, the Willie Mullins-trained gelding jumped up on the outside of the leader at the last fence in the back straight, and looked the likely winner as they rounded the home turn. Moved towards the near side at the top of the home straight, he just seemed to tire from that point. He got in tight to the third last fence, landed awkwardly over it and, all of a sudden, his winning chance had gone. He was in tight to the second last fence too, as Uncle Danny went clear, and he was well beaten by General Principle for second place, just holding on for third from Jett.

It was a disappointing end to the race, but he did travel and jump well through the early stages of the race. He did weaken close home on his seasonal debut in A Genie In Abottle’s beginners’ chase at Fairyhouse last month and, while that was over three miles, it may be that the heavy ground over two and a half miles caught him out on Saturday.

A progressive handicap hurdler last season, JP McManus’ horse was impressive in winning a decent handicap hurdle at Leopardstown last February off a mark of 126, and he ran a cracker to finish fourth in the Coral Cup at last year’s Cheltenham Festival off a mark of 141. The handicapper dropped him 2lb for Saturday’s run to a chase mark of 133, and that gives him plenty of leeway. He jumps his fences well, so he should be at least as good over fences as he is over hurdles, and he will be of interest now in a handicap off that mark, when he can get back on better ground. Two and a half miles is probably a good trip for him, and the fact that he has good Cheltenham Festival form is an obvious positive for him if he were to go back to Cheltenham this year.

7th January 2017