Horses To Follow » HTF

Farrants Way

Farrants Way ran a big race to finish third in the Pertemps qualifier. He led and disputed with the eventual winner Portrush Ted from flagfall, racing around the inside throughout, probably on the worst of the ground. He was challenged from the top of the home straight, and he was passed at the second last by Storm Arising and Portrush Ted, but he still kept on well enough after he had been headed to hold onto third place.

This was Farrants Way’s first run since he ran in a maiden hurdle at Hereford in March, and it was just his second run over hurdles and his fifth under all codes. He can go well fresh, he won that maiden hurdle at Hereford last March on his first run in a year, and he was strong in the market here, but there is still every reason to expect that he will come on for this experience. He can probably be marked up at least a little too, given that he raced towards the inside throughout. He stays well and he goes well on soft ground, and his handicap mark of 127 could under-rated him.

Sandown, 4th December 2020

Senior Citizen

Senior Citizen ran well for a long way in the Grand Sefton Chase, over the Grand National fences. He was quickly into a nice racing rhythm for Tom Bellamy, and he jumped the spruce fences well. He travelled well down the side of the track, and it appeared as if he was going best of all as they rounded the home turn and faced up to the second last fence. He travelled like the most likely winner at that point, as he moved up on the outside of leader Sir Jack Yeats, but he came under pressure on the run to the final fence and he weakened on the long run-in. He only finished seventh in the end.

It was surprising that he weakened as quickly as he did, because it shouldn’t have been stamina that got him. He won a handicap chase over two miles and five furlongs on soft ground at Fakenham in February, and he won again over two miles and five furlongs on better ground at Newton Abbot on his debut this term. He was a little keen through the early stages of the race, and perhaps that took its toll late on, on the soft ground on the Grand National track. He is deserving of another chance. He is still lightly raced, this was just his sixth chase, and he is only seven, so he retains plenty of potential. He could still be a horse for the Topham Chase back over the same course and distance in April, ideally on better ground.

Aintree, 5th December 2020

The Bosses Oscar

The Bosses Oscar was a beaten favourite in the three-mile handicap hurdle, but he still ran well in defeat. Flooring Porter led from flagfall and ran out an impressive winner, but The Bosses Oscar travelled well through his race. He had to be ridden along a little by Jack Kennedy across the top of the track, but he came back on the bridle at the top of the home straight and, while the winner skipped clear, Gordon Elliott’s horse stayed on well to just get up and take the runner-up spot, despite making a mistake at the second last flight.

This was just the Oscar gelding’s sixth run over hurdles and his seventh run under Rules. On his previous run, his seasonal debut, he put up a nice performance to win a two-mile-six-furlong hurdle at Thurles. He stayed on well to hold on from Rightplacerightime, and he kept the race in the stewards’ room having come across the runner-up on the run-in. He was a bit unlucky not to finish better than fifth in the Martin Pipe Hurdle at Cheltenham last March. He was well back in the field on the run down the hill that day, but he was staying on well from the home turn, when he was slightly hampered by the fall of his stable companion Column Of Fire at the last, where he also made a mistake. He could still be a well-handicapped horse on a mark of 138, and he could be a horse for the Pertemps Final in March, a race that his trainer has won for the last three years, and in which he has fielded the 1-2 in two of them.

Navan, 5th December 2020

Galice Macalo

Galice Macalo ran well to finish second in the two-mile handicap hurdle that brought the curtain down on proceedings at Sandown on Saturday. Jane Williams’ filly was keen for much of the journey, despite the fact that Totterdown set a fast pace on the ground and stretched the field right out on the run down the back straight. Still a little keen and racing in fourth place down the back straight, she moved up in behind the leader, still keen, as they raced to the end of the back straight, and she wasn’t helped by Rosie And Millie jumping across her at the last two flights in the back straight. She still travelled well into the home straight and, moved towards the near side, she jumped to the front over the second last flight and went for home. She looked a likely winner at that point, and she jumped the last well, but Benson just ran her down up the run-in. She was beaten by a length and a half in the end, but she ran all the way to the line, and she came over seven lengths clear of the third horse, the highly-regarded favourite Mister Coffey.

It was a big run by a four-year-old filly, taking on older geldings, especially given that she raced as keenly as she did for as long as she did. She had made all in both her races before Saturday this season, but she did well here, racing behind a fast pace set by confirmed front-runner Totterdown, for all that she was keen. The handicapper raised her by 7lb for this to a mark of 134, but she is only four and she has raced just five times in her life, so she has lots of scope for progression still. She should do even better as she gains in experience and learns to settle a little better, and perhaps the fitting of a hood could help in that regard.

Sandown, 5th December 2020

Eklat De Rire

Eklat De Rire put up an impressive performance to win his beginners’ chase on his chasing bow. He set off in front, but he was a little keen and, when Larquebuse went up to join him and move ahead of him as they started off down the back straight final time, after The Big Dog’s departure, Rachael Blackmore was happy to cede the lead. Eklat De Rire travelled well in Larquebuse’s slipstream until he jumped past her again at the fourth last fence. He jumped the third last well too and, while he was joined by School Boy Hours on the run to the second last, it always looked like his rider was holding onto plenty. She didn’t really ask her horse for his effort until they landed over the second last fence, and he responded well. He went two lengths clear of School Boy Hours on the run to the last, jumped that obstacle well and kept on nicely to win by three and a half lengths.

You couldn’t have asked for much more from Henry de Bromhead’s horse really, on this, his chasing bow. Visually, it was a nice performance, and it was a good beginners’ chase. The runner-up is a 134-rated performer who had finished second to Latest Exhibition on his seasonal debut, while Larquebuse is rated 135 over hurdles. And it was Eklat De Rire’s first chase, his first run since last March, and just his third run under Rules, so there could be significant progress forthcoming. Winner of his only point-to-point, it was interesting too that Henry de Bromhead mentioned the Grade 1 three-mile chases at Kempton and at Leopardstown at Christmas as potential targets now. The Saddex gelding is obviously held in high regard at home, and he could step forward to take a high rank among the staying novice chasers this season.

Punchestown, 8th December 2020