Horses To Follow » Madara


Madara was impressive in winning the two-mile handicap chase at Cheltenham on Saturday. Harry Cobden was happy to allow him sit just off the pace along the inside early on. The three leaders got away from him a little over the fourth last and starting down the hill, and he came under a little bit of a ride after the third last, but he moved well in behind the leaders on the run to the second last, and he kept on well from there, coming away from In Excelsis Deo on the run-in.

This was a career-best from Sophie Leech’s horse, building on two promising efforts since his arrival in Britain. In the first of those, he was travelling well in the handicap chase that Dancing On My Own won at Cheltenham’s October meeting when he unseated at the third last fence. Then, on his last run before Saturday, he again travelled well in a two-mile handicap chase at Cheltenham’s November meeting, he travelled best of all on the run to the home turn, but he couldn’t go on in the home straight. He showed the benefit of those two runs on Saturday, staying on strongly up the hill all the way to the line.

The handicapper raised him by 5lb for this to a mark of 135, and that was fair. It only takes him back up to his October mark. He is only four, his age allowance will reduce as the season goes on, but he is progressive, he has the potential to go beyond his handicap rating now, and he could improve again for stepping up in trip.

Cheltenham, 16th December 2023