Horses To Follow » Cracking Smart

Cracking Smart

Cracking Smart did well to get as close as he got in the Coral Cup. He missed the kick at the standing start, and he was slow to get into his stride, and that wasn’t ideal in a race in which they didn’t go a massive gallop early on. He was last of the 25 runners as they raced to the first turn. He met some traffic as they turned at the top of the hill, which left him still nearer last than first as they raced to the third last flight. He made some ground for pressure and, still no better than 10th as they raced to the home turn, he stayed on well for Gavin Brouder over the last and up the run-in to take fourth place behind Dame De Compagnie.

It was another fine run by Gordon Elliott’s horse, it was probably a step forward on his previous run, when he sprang a bit of a surprise in winning the Grade 2 Boyne Hurdle at Navan. A promising novice hurdler two seasons ago, he didn’t really live up to that promise in the early part of this season over fences. Returned to hurdles now, he has gone forward nicely in his last two runs, and this was a big run under a big weight in a race in which things didn’t go his way. He could be better over further too, he stays well, he won a listed novices’ hurdle over three miles at Cork on heavy ground two seasons ago. He is eight years old now, but the staying hurdling division does not look to be that strong now, and he wouldn’t have to improve an awful lot to give himself a chance in the top staying hurdles next season.

Cheltenham 11th March, 2020