Horses To Follow » Moonlighter


Moonlighter ran way better than his finishing position in fifth place suggests in the two-mile handicap chase at Cheltenham last Saturday. Weak in the market beforehand, he settled nicely for Tom Scudamore in mid-division behind a good pace that Editeur Du Gite set, and his jumping was really good. He moved into third place on the run to the second open ditch, and he travelled well in the leader’s slipstream over the fourth last fence. He moved nicely up on the leader’s outside on the run down the hill, and he was still travelling well on the run around the home turn. He came under a ride on the run to the second last fence, however, and he just weakened from there up the hill.

It was a disappointing finish to a race in which he promised lots. Pulled up on his only other run at Cheltenham, in the Grand Annual at the Festival in March, it may be that the Cheltenham hills just don’t suit him. Nick Williams’ horse had a wind operation after that run in the Grand Annual, and he was pulled up when he stopped quickly on his return in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter. This was just his second run back after his wind operation, and it may be that he will be seen to better effect now on a flatter track. The handicapper dropped him by 3lb for Saturday’s run, down to a mark of 141, and he could be well handicapped now on that mark. He has run well at Sandown and Newbury in the past, and he will be of interest if and when he returns to one of those tracks.
Cheltenham, 11th December 2021