Horses To Follow » Banbridge


Banbridge was very good in winning his beginners’ chase at Gowran Park on Saturday.  Sent to the front from flagfall by JJ Slevin, his jumping was sure-footed and slick and accurate throughout.  A chasing debutant, he took everything in his stride, he didn’t miss a beat and, challenged by Indigo Breeze at the third last fence, he came away from that rival on the run to the second last, jumped the last two fences well and went on to win by eight and a half lengths, eased down.

Joseph O’Brien’s horse was a progressive novice hurdler last season.  A dual winner last summer, he wasn’t at his best on soft ground at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival, but he bounced out of that to win on better ground at Navan in January, and he followed up by winning the Martin Pipe Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.  That is a race that has been won by several horses who went on to be high-class staying chasers, including Sir Des Champs, Don Poli, Killultagh Vic, Champagne Classic, Early Doors and Galopin Des Champs, and Banbridge could have a really interesting season ahead of him now over fences.  Out of a half-sister to MIdlands National runner-up Major Malarkey, he stays two and a half miles well, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him stepping up in trip as the season develops and, obviously, the fact that he is a Cheltenham Festival winner will be a positive if he returns to Prestbury Park in March.

Gowran Park, 1st October 2022