Horses To Follow » Hansard


Hansard did well to win the Gerry Feilden Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday. He wasn’t great over the first two flights in the back straight, but he travelled really well through his race, and he held a nice position, just behind the leaders and along the inside, as they raced across the top of the track. He lost that position though when early leader Doyen Ta Win dropped back into his lap, he dropped from a share of third place leaving the back straight to seventh of the eight runners as they levelled up for home. But he still travelled well, rider Niall Houlihan didn’t panic, he moved up nicely in behind the new leader Bad on the run to the second last flight, and he picked up well from there. He battled on strongly up the run-in to get the better of Bad and the well-backed Brentford Hope, with the three of them pulling well clear of the rest of the field.

It was a good performance by Gary Moore’s horse, it was a nice step up on his previous run in the Elite Hurdle, when he finished second behind Rubaud. That wasn’t a bad run, Rubaud is a high-class and progressive young hurdler, but he was keen in that race, his seasonal debut, and the suspicion was that he was better than he showed there. This was much more like it.

The handicapper has raised him by 4lb to a mark of 142, but this was just his sixth run over hurdles, and his third win, so he has the potential to cover that hike and more. He is a strong traveller, a strong pace suits him well, and he could do even better in a big-field handicap hurdle. His trainer mentioned the Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle at Ascot’s Long Walk Hurdle meeting as a potential target, and that makes sense. Looking further ahead, he could be a big player in the Betfair Hurdle back at Newbury in February, back over the Gerry Feilden course and distance. That is a race that his trainer has won three times.

Newbury, 2nd December 2023