Horses To Follow » Pileon


Pileon only finished fourth in the Pertemps qualifier at Aintree last Saturday, but there was plenty of encouragement to be gleaned from his run. Settled just behind the leaders early on, he travelled well through his race and he jumped well. He came under a ride on landing over the cross flight on the run to the home turn, but he picked up nicely and he moved well just behind the leaders into the home straight. He came back on the bridle on the run to the second last flight, but he wasn’t great at that obstacle, he landed quite abruptly, and he started to tire from there. Still a close-up third on the run to the last, he put in a tired-looking jump there, but he kept on admirably on the run-in to finish just over two lengths behind the winner Koshari.

This was Plieon’s first run since he finished last of 12 behind Proschema in a handicap hurdle at Aintree in May, and it was a really encouraging comeback run. It didn’t really happen for him last season, it was a disappointing season, but his trainer Philip Hobbs didn’t have a great season last season. Winner of his only bumper in March 2019, Pileon was a progressive novice hurdler in 2019/20, winning twice and going down by just a short head to Indefatigable in the Martin Pipe Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, when he looked certain to win after he was left clear on the run-in. He raced off a handicap rating of 138 that day, and he was raised to a mark of 143 after that, but his indifferent season last season has meant that the handicapper dropped him to a mark of 132, and he dropped him by another 1lb for some reason for this Aintree run. He is only seven and he has raced just eight times over hurdles, and he could be a well-handicapped horse now. He stayed three miles well on Saturday, on his first attempt at the trip, he is unexposed over the distance, and the Pertemps Final back at Cheltenham in March is an obvious target.
Aintree, 6th November 2021