Horses To Follow » Horses To Follow


Benatar put up a really nice performance to win the 2m 3f novices’ handicap chase. A little keen through the early stages of the race, Jamie Moore settled him nicely at the back of the field in order to help him settle, which he did. He jumped quite well and moved closer to the pace on the run down the side of the track, although he wasn’t helped by a slight mistake on landing over the third last fence. Only sixth as they started to turn for home, he was wide into the home straight, but he moved up nicely on the near side on the run to the second last fence, and he hit the front on the run to the last. He got in tight to the final fence, which gave Space Oddity a little bit of a chance, but he picked his momentum up again on the run-in and stayed on powerfully to win well.

A point-to-point winner, he was a progressive novice hurdler last season and he finished fourth behind Finian’s Oscar in the Grade 1 Mersey Hurdle at Aintree in April, for which his handicap rating was raised 12lb to a mark of 142. That was a high enough hurdles mark off which to be embarking on his chasing career on Saturday, but he coped well with that mark well on Saturday. He has been raised another 6lb for Saturday’s win to a mark of 148, but he is only five, this was just his fifth race ever and it was his chasing bow, so he has buckets of potential, and he could do even better stepped up in trip.

Ascot, 4th November 2017

Braqueur D’Or

Braqueur D’Or did really well to run on as well as he did to take third place in the Sodexo Gold Cup. This was a big step up in class for Paul Nicholls’ horse, who started his career over fences just last May and who raced through the summer. His best performance before this was his previous performance, when he won a three-mile handicap chase at Ludlow off a mark of 129. This was a big step up, racing off a mark of 139 in a really competitive Grade 3 handicap chase.

Racing in midfield in a race in which the first two home raced prominently, he wasn’t helped by some sketchy jumping late on. He  made mistakes at the sixth last, the third last and the second last fences. No better than seventh as they started the turn for home, he was just starting to build momentum in the home straight when he made his final mistake at the second last. That halted his forward momentum but, still just sixth on the run between the final two fences, he got going again, he was much better at the last and he stayed on strongly up the run-in to take third place behind Go Conquer and Rock Gone. He had no chance with the impressive winner, but he stayed on gamely to be closest at the finish.

Still just six, this was just his seventh run over fences, and he continues to progress. His last two runs have been the two best runs of his life, he is on a nice upward trajectory. The handicapper left him on his mark of 139 after this, and that is a mark off which he should be competitive in another good staying handicap chase. He did handle soft ground at Uttoxeter in July, but he does go well on this good ground, his record suggests that the better the ground for him, the better he is, and he will always be of interest when he races on goodish ground. He could be a horse for one of the big staying handicap chases in the spring.

Ascot, 4th November 2017


He is obvious, but Disko was seriously impressive in winning the Grade 2 intermediate chase at Down Royal. He travelled well in front for Sean Flanagan, his jumping was really accurate, he always looked to be the most likely winner. He got in tight to the final fence and he gave Ballyoisin a chance, but he picked up again on the run-in under just a hands-and-heels ride and he won well. This was the best performance of his career by some way on Racing Post Ratings and, sure enough, he beat the 158-rated progressive and race-fit Ballyoisin comfortably enough, giving him 7lb, and the pair of them were clear. Also, he is only six and, a dual Grade 1 winner last season as a novice who stays three miles at least, there is no telling how high he could go.

Down Royal, 4th November 2017

Logical Song

Logical Song put up a hugely impressive performance to win the Cork National over 3m 4f. He was keener than ideal through the early stages of the race on this, his first attempt at a trip in excess of 2m 4f over fences, but he moved through his field well. Mags Mullins’ horse arrived just behind the front rank at the second last fence and, when Danny Mullins shook him up on landing over the last, he picked up really impressively and came clear. He left the impression that he had loads of energy left. He had run over 3m over hurdles, and he obviously appreciated this step up in trip to an extreme distance over fences. He is only eight and this was just his seventh chase, so he has lots of scope for progression as a staying chaser. The handicapper raised him by 12lb to a mark of 135, but a significant hike was merited, and it puts him within range of some of the big staying handicap chases. He goes well on soft ground and he will be of interest now in another marathon.

Cork, 5th November 2017


Ballyoptic was very good in winning the 3m novices’ chase. He set off in front from flagfall and, while he was allowed dictate just a moderate looking pace, even allowing for the soft ground, his jumping was good and he started to come away from useful rivals Elegant Escape and Barney Dwan from the third last fence. He came clear from the second last  and he won easily, eased down on the run-in. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ horse was a high-class staying hurdler last season, he fell in the West Yorkshire Hurdle and in the Long Walk Hurdle when still in with big chances, and he finished fourth in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. He had had a run this season, a moderate one in a hurdle race at Newton Abbot in October, so this was much more like it on his first run over fences. He is only seven and, rated 162 at his peak over hurdles, he could take a high rank among the staying novice chasers this season, even if it may be that he will be seen to best effect on soft ground.

Exeter, 7th November 2017