Horses To Follow » Horses To Follow

Diego Du Charmil

Diego Du Charmil was running a big race in the 2m 1f handicap chase when he came down at the third last fence.

Paul Nicholls’ horse travelled well through the early stages of the race for Bryony Frost, and his jumping was very good. His superior jumping took him easily to the front past Beau Bay on the run down towards Swinley Bottom and, while he allowed that rival back up on his inside around the turn, his jumping was again very accurate up the side of the track.

He was level with Beau Bay and apparently travelling far better when he came down at the third last fence. He was unlucky to fall too. He jumped the fence very well, but just appeared to crumple on landing. Beau Bay was just beaten by Ashoka in the end, the Dan Skelton horse just got up on the run-in, in a race that was run in a good time, but Diego Du Charmil was travelling much better than both at the time of his departure. It is impossible to know how the race would have panned out, but it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that Diego Du Charmil would have run out a relatively easy winner.

The Ballingary gelding was a talented hurdler. He won the Fred Winter Hurdle on his British debut in 2016, and he won the Scottish County Hurdle at Musselburgh in February last year off a mark of 140. This was just his fourth chase. An impressive winner on his chasing debut at Newton Abbot last September, he couldn’t go with Saint Calvados on soft ground in the Kingmaker Chase at Warwick in February, but there was no disgrace in that, and he did beat the talented and sadly subsequently ill-fated North Hill Harvey for second place.

He is only six and, with just four chases under his belt, he has the potential for significant progression over fences. Probably at his best on goodish ground, he will be of interest again now as we move into the spring. He will be of big interest if he takes his chance in the Red Rum Chase at the Aintree Grand National meeting off his mark of 143. That mark could under-rate him over fences. He is rated 147 over hurdles.

Ascot, 25th March 2018

Medicine Jack

Medicine Jack battled on well to win the 6f handicap. Ger Lyons’ horse was a little keen through the very early stages of the race, but he settled into a nice rhythm then in the front rank for Colin Keane. He travelled well to the 2f pole and he battled back well after he had been headed by Gymkhana to get back up and win by a head from Smash Williams, who also kept on well.

Medicine Jack won the Group 2 Railway Stakes as a juvenile two years ago and, third in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes, he was rated 108 at his peak. Raced just once last year as a three-year-old, he has been gelded since, and he was racing off a mark of 94 on Sunday. A 4lb hike takes him up to a mark of just 98, 10lb lower than his peak, and that gives him plenty of potential leeway. He would be interesting now in a big 6f handicap off that mark, but he could also make his mark in Pattern company.

Naas, 25th March 2018


Saltonstall ran a cracker to finish second in the Irish Lincoln. Michael Halford’s horse travelled well in rear, he made nice ground from the 3f pole and he finished off his race well on the near side. He just couldn’t catch On The Go Again, but he closed all the way to the line to get to within a length and three quarters of Michael Mulvany’s horse by the time he reached it. It was a fine run from the son of Pivotal on his first run for almost a year, since he finished last of nine in Rekindling’s Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown last April.

The Godolphin horse didn’t make his racecourse debut until September of his two-year-old season, and he raced just four times before last Sunday. This was his debut this term, so his scope for progression is obvious. This was his first run too since a gelding operation, and it was his first in a tongue-tie, and it was probably a career-best. He won his maiden on soft ground at Limerick, and it is probable that he will be at his best with at least a little bit of cut in the ground.

Naas, 25th March 2018

Chti Balko

Chti Balko was unlucky to come up against his stable companion, William Of Orange, rejuvenated after his wind operation on the soft ground that he loves, in the 2m handicap hurdle. Always prominent, Donald McCain’s horse took up the running from Sleepy Haven at the end of the back straight, and he looked a likely winner when he travelled well in front to the second last flight. His stable companion was his only danger at that point, and he ultimately gave best to him, conceding a total of 25lb, including the winner’s rider Lorcan Murtagh’s claim, and going down by 3l in the end. But Chti Balko still finished 9l clear of the third horse Spectator, in a race that was run in a good time.

The handicapper raised Chti Balko’s mark by 4lb to a mark of 142, but this was probably a career-best performance, and he is only six, so he still has the potential to go higher still. He does go well at Haydock, but he also goes well at Newbury, so it may be that it is a flat, left-handed track that plays to his strengths, that he is not just a Haydock specialist. As such, he would be of interest if he lined up at Aintree, although there is a slight concern that his forward-going style of racing is not ideally suited to the hurdles track there. He would be of greater interest if he went to Ayr for the Scottish Champion Hurdle, or if he returned to Haydock for the Swinton Hurdle. And slightly better ground would not be a major negative. He obviously goes well on this soft ground, but he has good form on good to soft ground too.

Haydock, 31st March 2018

Call It Magic

Call It Magic ran a cracker in the Irish National. He only finished seventh of the eight finishers in the end, and he was beaten 14l by the winner General Principle, but he ran much better than that suggests.

Ross O’Sullivan’s horse travelled and jumped really well the whole way for Andrew Lynch, and he travelled as well as any of his rivals across the top of the track, over the fourth last fence. His stamina just ebbed from the top of the home straight on the ground, and he just kept on to finish seventh.

It was a fine run from an eight-year-old who was racing for just the 10th time over fences. He does handle soft ground, but the combination of the very soft ground and the distance probably stretched his stamina beyond its limit. He jumped a little to his left here too, as he had done before, so, even though a lot of his big runs have been at right-handed tracks – two of his three wins over fences have been at right-handed tracks – he might do even better at a left-handed track. He could be a horse for a big staying handicap chase at a left-handed track next season, possibly the Paddy Power Chase, and he could be an Aintree National horse at some point in the future.

Fairyhouse, 2nd April 2018