Horses To Follow » *Sir Valentine

Sir Valentine

Sir Valentine did well to finish third in the Betfair Exchange Trophy. He raced along the inside early on, but he got squeezed out of it fairly badly as they raced away from the stands when Monsieur Lecoq closed in on him around the bend. He wasn’t helped either when Zanza fell at the third flight and brought down Quoi De Neuf. Last of the main group of runners as they raced into Swinley Bottom, he wasn’t great over the fourth last or third last flights, but he still travelled well to the home turn. Last of the leading group of seven around the home turn, he switched to the outside and stayed on well from the second last flight. He was never going to catch runaway winner Not So Sleepy, but he kept on well to take third place.

Winner of a 12-furlong maiden on the flat at Kempton in 2016, Nigel Twiston-Davies’ horse reached a peak rating of 88 on the flat. He joined Nigel Twiston-Davies at the start of this season, and he got off the mark over hurdles at the second time of asking at Newbury in early November. He stepped forward from that next time when he finished second behind the talented Ribble Valley at Wetherby, and this was another step forward. It was just his fourth run over hurdles and it was his first run in a handicap, and he can be marked up on the bare form of the run. The handicapper left him on his mark of 130 after this, which was more than fair. That is a mark off which he will be of interest in another good two-mile handicap hurdle. He handles this soft ground well. He holds an entry in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury next month, a track at which he is one for one, and that looks like a very good target for him.

Ascot, 21st December 2019