Horses To Follow » Politologue


There was generally an air of disappointment after Politologue’s defeat in the Grade 2 two-and-a-half-mile novices’ chase at Haydock last Saturday, but Paul Nicholls’ horse still ran a massive race in the circumstances to finish second to Waiting Patiently. It is probable that the merit of his run has been generally under-rated.

Warm beforehand and keen through his race, Politologue was left in front when Maximiser blundered at the third fence. That wasn’t a negative in itself, he had made all the running when he had won a good race at Ascot on his previous outing, but he did give his rival something to aim at. Ultimately, he was joined by Waiting Patiently between the last two fences, and he couldn’t withstand his strong challenge on the soft ground, but he still kept on all the way to the line to maintain the deficit at just over a length, with the first two finishing clear of their rivals.

There was no disgrace in going down narrowly to Waiting Patiently. Malcolm Jefferson’s horse is a progressive young chaser who was winning his third chase from three attempts and who, crucially, excels on this soft ground. Also, the pair of them finished well clear the useful Its’afreebee and the winning time was good, marginally faster than Racing Post par. Politologue goes on this soft ground too but, given his free-going style, it is probable that he will be better now on better ground. Ground on the easy side of good, like it was at Ascot when he was so impressive on his previous run, should be just about ideal.

Politologue is a progressive young chaser himself. He is only six, and he had won his two previous chases before Saturday. This two-and-a-half-mile trip appears to be his optimum, he is shaping like a JLT Chase horse for the Festival this year. In that context, however, it is a little bit of a worry that he under-performed in the Coral Cup last season on his only run at the Cheltenham Festival.

That said, he has run well at Cheltenham, he was going to give North Hill Harvey a race in a novices’ hurdle at the December meeting last season on his British debut when he ducked out at the final flight, so perhaps he just had an off day in the Coral Cup.

Paul Nicholls was talking about Aintree and Ayr after Politologue won at Ascot, so probably best to wait for a non-runner-no-bet concession anyway before thinking about him as an ante post proposition for the JLT. And he would actually be of most interest from a betting perspective if he skipped Cheltenham and went for the Manifesto Chase at Aintree or the Ryanair Gold Cup (the old Powers) at Fairyhouse’s Irish National meeting, where he would probably be meeting potentially higher-profile horses coming on from the Arkle or the JLT at Cheltenham.

21st January 2017