Horses To Follow » HTF – Britain

Two For Gold

Two For Gold put up a good performance to finish second to Huntsman Son in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase. Prominent from early, Kim Bailey’s horse led as they left the back straight first time and, although harried by Vinnie The Hoddie up on his outside for much of the race, he wasn’t headed until Huntsman Son got the better of him on the run between the last two fences. He had no response to the turn of foot that the winner showed, but he kept on well enough for David Bass to retain second place from the 2018 Greatwood Hurdle winner Nietzsche, who had gone into the race with race-fitness on his side from the flat.

This was a brave effort by Two For Gold, on his seasonal debut and racing over a trip that was surely shorter than ideal for him. He did win on his chasing debut last season over two and a half miles, but he won a novices’ hurdle over two miles and seven furlongs, and he won the Grade 2 Hampton Novices’ Chase at Warwick last January over three miles on soft ground. He should be better when he steps back up to three miles and when the ground turns even softer. He has plenty of scope for progression, he is only seven and this was just his fifth run over fences, and he will be of interest in some of the good staying handicap chases. He has the potential to go beyond his current mark of 148 this season.

Wetherby, 30th October 2020

Fifty Ball

Fifty Ball only got home by a head in the end in the second division of the conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle, but he probably won with a lot more in hand than that. He travelled really well for Niall Houlihan through his race along the inside, he made nice progress up the side of the track, he moved easily behind the leader Scene Not Herd around the home turn, and he moved easily into the lead on the run to the second last flight. He was a little guessy there, he was long and he clipped the top of the hurdle and he landed a little awkwardly, but he quickly put two lengths between himself and his pursuers by the time they reached the final flight. He was challenged on the run-in by Straw Fan Jack, and that rival looked like a real danger, finishing off his race well towards the near side, probably on the best of the ground, but Fifty Ball battled back well on the far side to get home by a head.

It is probable that Gary Moore’s horse was idling when he hit the front. The manner in which he responded when challenged by Straw Fan Jack, added to the strength with which he appeared to travel through his race, suggests that he may have had a fair bit more to give. He raced seven times in bumpers in France, winning twice, but this was just his third run over hurdles for Gary Moore, and it was his first in a handicap. The handicapper raised him by 7lb for this, but he is only five, he has lots of potential for continued progression, so he could be able to cope with a hike of that magnitude. He has the potential to be better than a 120-rated horse. Also, his trainer said afterwards that soft ground suits him, so he could progress again as we move more deeply into the winter.

Ascot, 31st October 2020


Malaya put up a good performance to finish second to Kid Commando in the Listed Sodexo Handicap Hurdle. While it never really looked like she was going to get to the winner, who made all the running and stayed on well from the second last flight, Paul Nicholls’ mare kept on well herself for Bryony Frost to take second place, coming 10 lengths clear of her better-fancied stable companion Scaramanga in third.

This was a good start to the season for Paul Nicholls’ mare. She could be a well-handicapped horse now on a mark of 139, which is just 3lb higher than the mark off which she won the Imperial Cup in 2019. She is not that lightly-raced, but she is only six and she could improve for this, her first run since she finished second in another good handicap hurdle at Ascot in February. She raced over fences on her debut last season, when she finished third behind Rouge Vif in a novices’ chase at Market Rasen, but she wasn’t tried over fences again, and she can probably go higher over hurdles now. She goes well at Ascot and Sandown, and she will be of particular interest at either of those tracks again now.

Ascot, 31st October 2020

Next Destination

Next Destination put up a really encouraging performance on his first run back in the Bet365 West Yorkshire Hurdle. His jumping was very good for a horse who had been off the track for so long, and he travelled really well. He came under pressure when they quickened at the top of the home straight, and he got caught a little flat-footed, but he came back on the bridle on the run to the third last flight. A mistake at that obstacle didn’t help, but he picked up well after that. He couldn’t go with Roksana, which was understandable, she is a classy mare and she was very strong in the market, and he was conceding the 7lb mares’ allowance to her. But he still stayed on well to take second place in front of last season’s Ultima Chase runner-up Kildisart and last season’s Stayers’ Hurdle winner Lisnagar Oscar.

This was Next Destination’s first run for Paul Nicholls, and it was his first run since he won the Grade 1 three-mile novices’ hurdle at the 2018 Punchestown Festival for Willie Mullins. He beat Delta Work by a neck that day, with the Albert Bartlett Hurdle winner Kilbricken Storm another neck back in third. He had won the Grade 1 Lawlor’s of Naas Hurdle earlier in his novice season, and he had finished third behind Samcro in the Ballymore Hurdle at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival. He has obviously had his issues in the meantime, but this was a really nice comeback run, and he obviously retains lots of latent ability. He would be an exciting staying novice chaser, or he could take a high rank among the top staying hurdlers this season.

Wetherby, 31st October 2020


Moonlighter put up a really game performance in finishing second to Greaneteen in the Haldon Gold Cup. Sent to the front from flagfall by Tom Scudamore, his jumping was good, even though he did go to his left throughout. Even at that, he led into the home straight, he had all his rivals on the stretch by the time they reached the second last fence. Favourite Greaneteen was his only real challenger at that point, and it looked like he had fought off Paul Nicholls horse when he landed over the last in front, but he was just worn down close home, going down by just a neck in the end, with the front pair nicely clear.

It was still a massive run by Nick Williams’ horse. He was getting 9lb from the winner, but Greaneteen could be a Grade 1 horse, he is third favourite now for the Tingle Creek Chase behind Altior and Defi Du Seuil, and it was a big run by Moonlighter to run him to a neck, even in receipt of weight. Also, he should come on for this, his seasonal debut, and this was just his seventh chase, so he has plenty of potential to progress anyway. As well as that, he should do better when he goes left-handed again, and possibly when he gets back on softer ground. Soft ground and a galloping left-handed track should suit him well.

Exeter, 3rd November 2020