Horses To Follow » *On The Slopes

On The Slopes

On The Slopes put up a nice performance to win the two-and-a-quarter-mile novices’ handicap chase. Sent to the front from flagfall by Leighton Aspell, he jumped well, he led easily into the home straight, and he came away from his rivals from the third last fence to win well. He finished five lengths clear of Not That Fuisse, but he had more in hand than that.

He had run well too in the Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase at Cheltenham two weeks earlier. Wide from early that day in mid-division, he moved up on the outside on the run to the end of the back straight, and he moved to the front on the run down the hill to the second last fence. But that is a fair way out on soft ground at Cheltenham and, while he travelled well around the home turn, he weakened from the second last and faded up the hill to finish third. It was still a fine run by Chris Gordon’s horse.

He had run well too in defeat at Kempton and Ascot, but he proved that day that he could go left-handed too, and that he could operate at Cheltenham. He is only six and he has run just six times over fences, so he has plenty of scope for further progression. The handicapper raised him by 7lb to a mark of 136, which probably won’t be high enough to get him into the Northern Trust Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, but it might be high enough to get him into the Grand Annual. He could still be a well-handicapped horse now, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next.

Kempton, 7th February 2020