Horses To Follow » Panda Boy

Panda Boy

Panda Boy ran out an impressive winner of the Pertemps qualifier at Leopardstown on Tuesday, and he is a lightly-raced horse who could continue his upward trajectory. Keen enough early on in fifth or sixth place and up on the outside, he was taken back in the field early on by JJ Slevin, and he settled better for that. Always wide, he travelled well out of the back straight, and he made good ground, widest of all over the second last and around the home turn. He moved up on the outside to challenge the well-backed leader Winter Fog at the top of the home straight, joined him on the run to the last and went away from his rivals on the run to the line to win by four lengths in the end.

This was just Panda Boy’s fifth run. Winner of his maiden hurdle on his racecourse debut at Punchestown last March, when he sprang a 33/1 surprise, he wasn’t beaten far in the valuable novices’ handicap hurdle at the Fairyhouse Easter meeting that Lady Breffni won on just his second run. He was well beaten on his final run last season at Punchestown, and he was disappointing on his debut this season at Naas, but this was much more like it. He is obviously a talented and progressive horse, and he progressed for the step up to three miles on Tuesday, on soft ground. He should get enough of a hike from the handicapper to take him up to a rating which will get him into the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham, and he will be of interest if he does line up in that. Just turned six and with just five runs on his CV, he will be more progressive than most of his potential rivals in the Pertemps Final.
Leopardstown, 28th December 2021