Horses To Follow » Gentleman De Mee

Gentleman De Mee

Gentleman De Mee bounced back to form with the performance that he put up in winning the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase at Leopardstown last Saturday. Bounced out of the gate by Danny Mullins, he was a little awkward over the first fence, over which he landed in second place behind Dunvegan, but he was quickly up on the inside of Pat Fahy’s horse. He got in a little tight to the second fence, but his jumping after that was good. Willie Mullins’ horse moved into the lead in front of Dunvegan after the fifth fence, and he never saw a rival thereafter. He jumped the second last fence well, at which Blue Lord was a little awkward, and he set sail around the home turn. Blue Lord chased him into the home straight, but he couldn’t bridge the gap, and Gentleman De Mee went on to win by seven lengths in the end.

It was a big performance by JP McManus’ horse. His first three runs this season, admittedly all at a high level, were disappointing, but they were all before the turn of the calendar. He came good in the spring last season, and it may be that he is on a similar trajectory this term. He won his beginners’ chase at Thurles last February by 34 lengths before winning a Grade 3 contest at Navan by 16. Then he went to Aintree and beat the Arkle winner Edwardstone in the Grade 1 Maghull Chase. There is a chance that Edwardstone under-performed a little at Aintree, and there is a chance that Blue Lord under-performed at Leopardstown on Sunday, but Gentleman De Mee could hardly have been much more impressive than he was. And it wasn’t the case that he got an easy lead.

His best runs have been at Aintree and Leopardstown, both relatively flat, left-handed tracks, so there is a chance that he may not be at his best at Cheltenham. He was beaten when sent off as favourite for the Martin Pipe Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2021. But he has also looked good at Thurles and Navan, both very different tracks in terms of configuration, and it may be that the time of year and the type of ground is more important to him than the configuration of the track. His record over fences from February to April now reads 1111.
Leopardstown, 5th February 2023