Horses To Follow » Coko Beach

Coko Beach

Noted after he finished second behind his stable companion Pencilfulloflead on his chasing bow at Galway in October, Coko Beach is worthy of mention again following his impressive performance in landing the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park on Thursday.

He was very good in winning the Thyestes. He missed the kick a little, but he had the pace to get himself into a good position from early. After that, he did everything easily for Jack Kennedy. His jumping was very good, easy and accurate and he travelled like the most likely winner from a long way out. He jumped to the front at the third last fence, and he was very good at the last two as well, he pinged the last and he stayed on well up the run in to win by four lengths from his stable companion Run Wild Fred, running through the line and leaving the impression that he had more left to give.

Gordon Elliott’s horse was a good hurdler, he finished second in the Fred Winter Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival as a juvenile, but he always threatened to be a better chaser. He was beaten in all his four chases before Thursday, but all those runs were all over distances that were short of three miles, and one of them was in the Grade 1 Drinmore Chase against Envoi Allen. Stepped up to three miles and one furlong on Thursday and fitted with a set of blinkers, he put up the best performance of his career.

The handicapper raised him by 12lb for Thursday’s win, to a mark of 150, but he is only six, he was the youngest horse in the Thyestes, and that was just his fifth run over fences, so he has the potential to progress beyond his new mark. He would be of interest if he took his chance in the Ultima Chase at the Cheltenham Festival off that mark, but the National Hunt Chase looks like a more attractive Cheltenham Festival target now.

He would be one of the highest-rated horses in that race – he is officially rated just 1lb inferior to his stable companion Galvin, who is a big player in the race, but who is around one-third the price of Coko Beach – and his two runs at the Cheltenham Festival have both been good. As mentioned, he finished second in the Fred Winter Hurdle in 2019 and he did well to keep on as well as he did in the Coral Cup last year after being badly hampered at the second last flight. He still has to prove his stamina for three miles and six furlongs, but he stayed three miles and one furlong well on Thursday on attritional ground, and there is every chance that he will stay the trip all right.
Gowran Park, 28th January 2021