Horses To Follow » Blackbow


Blackbow only finished fifth in the Leopardstown Handicap Chase at Leopardstown last Sunday, but he ran much better than that suggests. Prominent from early, he jumped to the front over the fifth fence when Spyglass Hill made a mistake, and he led from there until the home straight. He travelled and jumped really well in front, he stretched the field out down the back straight, and he was three lengths clear when they faced up to the third last fence. He still travelled well in front over the second last, and he was still on the bridle as they rounded the home turn. His stamina started to ebb from that point though, he was passed by Winter Escape on the near side and by Birchdale on the far side, and he weakened up the run-in back into fifth place.

It was still a noteworthy performance by Willie Mullins’ horse. It was his first attempt at a distance in excess of two and a half miles, and the distance was just beyond him. He hasn’t won over a distance in excess of two miles and a furlong, and he will be of big interest when he drops back down in trip now. The form of his run in the Dan & Joan Moore Memorial Chase at Fairyhouse last month, when he gave best only to Dunvegan, was enhanced when Dunvegan finished second to Chacun Pour Soi in the Dublin Chase on Saturday, when he had Captain Guinness and Greaneteen behind him.
Blackbow is nine now, but he has raced just seven times over fences, and he is in the form of his life these days. He has a rating of 156 now, which is high for handicaps, even the high-class two-mile handicaps, like the Grand Annual or the Red Rum Chase, but he would be of interest in races like the Grade 3 Newlands Chase at Naas later this month and the Grade 2 Webster Cup at Navan next month, back over two miles. He hasn’t won a graded chase yet, so he would not have to carry a penalty in those races.
Leopardstown, 6th February 2022