Horses To Follow » Ronald Pump

Ronald Pump

Ronald Pump ran a massive race to finish second in the Stayers’ Hurdle. Held up early on by Bryan Cooper, he made nice progress down they raced to the fourth last flight and as they raced down the hill. He moved into fourth place as they raced around the home turn, just a length behind the ultimate winner Lisnagar Oscar as he went for home. He got squeezed out of though as Summerville Boy and the weakening Apple’s Jade converged, and then he had to switch as Summerville Boy hung to his left again across him. By the time he got into the clear, Lisnagar Oscar was in full flight in front. He gave valiant chase, and a mistake at the final flight didn’t help, but he ran all the way to the line, going down by two lengths in the end.

It was a massive run by Matthew Smith’s horse, probably the best of his life by some way. Favourite Paisley Park under-performed, but Ronald Pump still had Lismullen Hurdle winner Bacardys and Rendlesham Hurdle winner Emitom and Cleeve Hurdle runner-up Summerville Boy behind him, and he might have gone even closer had he had a clear run from the home turn or had he jumped the final flight better. Also, he was reportedly struck into during the race on his near hind leg, and he came home without his off-hind shoe.

He has had plenty of racing, but he has been better than ever this season. He finished second in a hot Pertemps qualifier at Leopardstown at Christmas under 11st 10lb, and this was a step forward from that. He is only seven, and he will be of interest in all the top staying hurdles next season. He may still be an under-rated horse.

Cheltenham 12th March, 2020