Horses To Follow » Dickie Diver

Dickie Diver

Dickie Diver put up a really encouraging performance in finishing second to Paint The Dream in a highly competitive two-mile-six-furlong novices’ handicap chase, on his chasing debut and his first run back after a long break.

Settled nicely by Aidan Coleman at the rear of the eight-runner field and towards the outside, he travelled well through his race and his jumping was good in the main. Still only sixth as they raced to the end of the back straight, and fully eight lengths behind the leader, he travelled well out of the back straight and over the cross fence, and he made nice progress at the top of the home straight. He got a little out-paced when they quickened from the third last fence, but he stayed on well from the second last, over the last and up the run-in, to just get up and pip Demachine for the runner-up spot.

This was Nicky Henderson’s horse’s first run since he finished fourth behind Minella Indo in the 2019 Albert Bartlett Hurdle, and he ran very well. He was beaten over seven lengths by the winner Paint The Dream, who made all, but it looked like a warm race beforehand, it was run in a good time, and Dickie Diver stayed on well past progressive horses in Severano and Demachine. Winner of his only point-to-point, he was a progressive staying novice hurdler two seasons ago, he won his maiden at Chepstow in February that year and he stayed on well to take fourth place in that Albert Bartlett Hurdle, behind Minella Indo and Commander Of Fleet and Allaho, with last year’s Stayers’ Hurdle winner Lisnagar Oscar five lengths behind him in fifth. That was a really hot Albert Bartlett Hurdle. From the family of Merry Gale, JP McManus’ horse obviously stays well. He would be interesting off his rating of 142 in a handicap, and he would also be of interest in good staying novice chases.

Newbury, 29th December 2020