Horses To Follow » Phoenix Way

Phoenix Way

Phoenix Way put up a good performance to finish fourth in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase at Cheltenham on Saturday. Held up early on in a race in which the pace held up well, he made a bad mistake at the first ditch down the back straight final time. Rider Kevin Brogan had both legs on one side of the horse for a stride or two, he did well to keep the partnership intact. Only 12th or 13th as they jumped the last ditch, six out, he wasn’t great at the fourth last or third last fences either, and he was still only 10th as they raced to the home turn, but he made good ground around the inside, and he picked up well at the top of the home straight. He had moved into fourth place by the time they got to the second last fence, but his run flattened out from there, and he just kept on to finish fourth.

it was still a fine performance by Harry Fry’s horse in a race in which the prominent racers did well. The winner and the runner-up, Il Ridoto and Fugitif, were prominent from early, and they finished well clear of the rest of the field. Phoenix Way is 10 now, but he is relatively lightly raced for his age, this was just his 10th chase, and there could still be a good prize in him off this type of mark on this evidence, and the handicapper dropped him by 2lb to a mark of 140, which was a nice bonus. He stays three miles all right, but two and a half miles or thereabouts on soft ground is probably close to optimum for him. He has run really well in both his Ascot races, so he will be of particular interest if and when he returns to the Berkshire track. There is a three-mile handicap chase there on Ascot Chase day later this month, and he would be of interest if he lined up in that.
Cheltenham, 28th January 2023