Horses To Follow » Fusil Raffles

Fusil Raffles

Fusil Raffles was seriously impressive in winning the two-mile novices’ chase. The four runners stood still for a second or two after the tape went across, but after that, Return Ticket set a good pace, and that suited Fusil Raffles well. He travelled really well through his race for Daryl Jacob, and his jumping was really good. It was a seriously impressive round of jumping from a novice at this stage of the season, his only slight mistake coming at the fifth last fence, when he got in a little tight but was still fast and clever over it. He travelled well down the hill, moved up on the outside of Return ticket as they rounded the home turn, and moved into the lead on the run to the second last. He was very good too over the last two fences, and he went clear of his rivals up the hill. He won by almost 10 lengths, and he clocked a time that was over a second faster than the time that Rouge Vif clocked in winning the handicap chase earlier on the day, carrying the same weight.

This was much more like it from Nicky Henderson’s horse, it was a step up on his chasing bow at Uttoxeter, when he had to battle to beat Quick Grabim, although it is not a negative that the third horse from that race, Gumball, was impressive in winning his beginners’ chase back at Uttoxeter on Friday. Fusil Raffles was an exciting juvenile hurdler two seasons ago, he was seriously impressive in winning the Adonis Hurdle on his first run for Nicky Henderson. He had to miss Cheltenham that year, but he went to Punchestown and won the Champion Four-Year-Old Hurdle there, when he was impressive in beating Fakir D’Oudairies. Last season was one to forget for him, he was pulled up in the Christmas Hurdle (when he was sent off as joint favourite with Epatante) and he ran poorly in the Champion Hurdle, but he is obviously back on track now. He is a talented horse who jumps fences well and, still just a five-year-old, who has lots of scope to progress as the season develops. It was interesting that Nicky Henderson said that he sees him more as a two-and-a-half-mile horse than a two-mile horse, so it may be that the Marsh Chase will be his Cheltenham Festival target this season, rather than the Arkle.

Cheltenham, 23rd October 2020