Horses To Follow » Horses To Follow

Tidal Flow

Tidal Flow did well to win the bumper at Newbury. He came under pressure at the top of the home straight as the leaders went for home, but he responded well for pressure. He went for a gap at the two-furlong marker, through which he could have joined the front rank, but he was squeezed out of it and Richard Johnson had to check back. He lost ground and momentum in that manoeuvre and, as favourite Burrows Edge moved easily into the lead, it looked like his winning chance had gone. However, moved to the far side, he stayed on strongly to catch and pass the favourite, and he came away from him on the run to the line, with the runner-up finishing nicely clear of the rest of the field.

It is difficult to gauge the exact strength of the race, but the winner displayed a really likeable attitude. The runner-up Burrows Edge was beaten in a novices’ hurdle at Kempton on Monday, but his jumping was not fluent in that, his hurdling bow and, a €140,000 purchase at Punchestown last April, he is probably a fair bit better than that. Burbank won the Newbury race last year before going on to win his maiden hurdle and finishing fourth in the Neptune Hurdle at Cheltenham, and Tidal Flow will be interesting now when he goes over hurdles.

Newbury, 9th November 2017

Hear No Evil

Hear No Evil was impressive in winning the 2m 4f novices’ hurdle at Aintree. Settled nicely just behind the leaders from early, Dan Skelton’s horse picked up on the run to the final flight and he stayed on strongly up the run-in to come 5l clear of his rivals.

A €150,000 purchase at the Land Rover Sale in 2015, he ran in two bumpers last season, both over 2m, and he ran well in defeat on each occasion, but he appeared to appreciate the step up to 2m 4f here. Only one horse has run from the race since, fourth-placed Delire D’Estruval, who made all and stayed on strongly to win a listed novices’ hurdle at Haydock on Saturday. Hear No Evil is only five and this was his hurdling debut, so the potential that he has for improvement is obvious. He stays 2m 4f well, and he should get further on this evidence.

Aintree, 11th November 2017

Ball D’Arc

Ball D’Arc put up an impressive performance to win the Grade 3 Poplar Square Chase at Naas. Always travelling well for Jack Kennedy, he travelled well into the home straight, he moved to the front from American Tom on the run to the final fence, and he stayed on well up the run-in to repel the challenge of Ordinary World, coming away to win by five lengths and clocking a good time.

Gordon Elliott’s horse is not short on experience, this was his 15th chase, but he is only six and he still has potential for further progression from this, probably a career-best effort.

It was a fine performance from the Gigginstown House horse, especially given that he was conceding 9lb to all his rivals. He was a progressive novice last season, he won Grade 3 novice contests at Navan and Naas last spring, over 2m 1f and 2m 4f respectively, and he was only just beaten by Ballycasey in the Grade 2 Norman’s Grove Chase at Fairyhouse. He has never been out of the first four when he has completed over fences, and he has only once been out of the first three. He goes well on this soft ground, but he also handles better ground, he stays 2m 4f and he could progress again.

Naas, 11th November 2017


Vicente travelled well throughout the 3m 3f handicap chase, it looked like he was travelling better than the ultimate winner Perfect Candidate and the third Three Faces West, as the three of them broke clear of the rest of the field on the run down the hill. He moved closer as they ran to the home turn, and he was just starting to get on terms with Perfect Candidate when he stumbled on landing over the second last. He wasn’t helped by his jump at the last either, where he clipped the top of the fence and landed flat-footed. That left him with 4l to find on the leader, and it was just too much. He closed on the run-in, but he could only close the gap to a neck by the time they reached the winning line.

It was a game effort by Paul Nicholls’ horse to get as close as he did on ground that should have been softer than ideal for him. He stays well and, while the winner was gallant in victory, Vicente might well have won had he jumped either of the last two fences a little better than he did. He got no further than the first fence in the Aintree Grand National last April, but he has won the last two renewals of the Scottish National, on both occasions off a mark of 146, and he will be of interest if he is targeted at the Aintree National again this season. His current mark of 151 would be a viable rating to take into the race. He will be nine next year, a good age for the Grand National. He goes well on good ground, and he goes well when the sun shines. His career record between March and September inclusive reads 21P1151F1.

Cheltenham, 18th November 2017

Tully East

Tully East ran well for a long way in the BetVictor Gold Cup before he faded to finish sixth. Barry Connell’s horse travelled well through his race for Denis O’Regan, he moved up nicely on the run down the hill, and he looked a big threat as they moved to the home turn, but he just faded in the home straight as the soft ground probably took its toll.

It was a big run on ground that should have been too soft for him, and he should do better now on better ground. He was racing off a mark of 148 at Cheltenham, 10lb higher than the mark off which he won the Close Brothers Chase at the Festival in March, and he proved here that he was able for a mark of this magnitude. He is only seven and this was just his sixth run over fences, so there could be a lot more to come.

Cheltenham, 18th November 2017