Horses To Follow » Le Prezien

Le Prezien

Le Prezien did well in the circumstances to finish third behind Top Notch in the Scilly Isles Chase at Sandown last Saturday.

Held up through the early stages of the race, he just couldn’t get into any kind of a racing rhythm as the fences came at him hard and fast, as they do at Sandown. He was wider than ideal and, while it never really looked like he would fall, he just wasn’t fluent. He wasn’t gaining ground at his fences. He did manage to manoeuvre himself into a challenging position at the Pond Fence, the third last, but the energy that he had to expend to get himself into that position obviously took its toll from there against Grade 1 opposition. Top Notch had enjoyed the run of the race just behind the pace and on the inside, and he had jumped fluently, so it was no surprise that Le Prezien couldn’t go with him when he quickened at the second last fence. That said, JP McManus’ horse kept on up the hill for Barry Geraghty to finish third, just a length and a quarter behind the runner-up Baron Alco.

It was a fine run from the Paul Nicholls-trained gelding in the circumstances. Top Notch is high-class, he was third in a Triumph Hurdle and he is now high in the betting for the JLT Chase, so Le Prezien did well to get as close as he did to him, beaten just over six lengths in a race that was run in a good time.

This was his first run over two and a half miles since he finished second to Yorkhill in the Mersey Hurdle at Aintree last April, and he appeared to stay it well. This could be his trip, it lacks the freneticism of two-mile pace, and that should help his jumping, back at a track at which he will have more time between his fences. He should benefit from this experience anyway. It was just his fourth run over fences and he is only six, so he should still have a bright future ahead of him. He deserves him place in graded company as a novice, but he would also be of interest now in handicaps, since the handicapper surprisingly dropped him 3lb for this run back to a mark of 146, which is the same as his hurdles mark.

4th February 2017