Horses To Follow » *Whatmore

Whatmore

Whatmore did well to run on as well as he did to finish fourth in the Betway Handicap Chase, coming from the rear in a race in which the pace held up well, as is often the case at Kempton. Settled towards the rear of the field early on by Tom O’Brien, he was keen early and he was a little off the bridle through the middle section of the race, but he made nice ground as they went towards the end of the back straight. He was caught in a little bit of traffic around the home turn, and his rider couldn’t seem to angle him out into the clear over the last three fences, but he still kept on well to finish a close-up fourth. He did best of the horses who were held up. The three horses who finished in front of him, Mister Malarky, Black Corton and Sametegal, were all in the leading group of six as they raced past the winning post with a circuit to run, whereas Whatmore was 12th of the remaining 13 runners. Jumping the fifth last, Whatmore was 13th of 13.

He made nice ground as they raced around the home turn, and it looked like he was travelling best of all as they raced to the third last fence, but he got in tight to the third last, he made a mistake and his rider dropped his whip, which wasn’t ideal. He kept on well for hands-and-heels riding, but you have to think that he would have got even closer if his rider had been able to use his stick.

This was just Whatmore’s fourth chase, and it was his first handicap. He had run well behind good novice chasers, Deyrann De Carjac and Pym, at Huntingdon in November, and he was hampered on the home turn on his previous run in the Grade 2 Hampton Chase at Warwick, when he finished third behind Two For Gold and Hold The Note.

The handicapper left him on his mark of 138 after this run, and that is fair. He has plenty of scope for progression. He can be keen, so a drop back down to two and a half miles could suit him well. He will be of interest wherever he goes next. He goes well on flat tracks, but he ran well in the Silver Trophy at Chepstow last year, an undulating track, so he will be of interest if he gets into the novices’ handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He is first reserve at present.

Kempton, 22nd February 2020