Horses To Follow » Ed Keeper

Ed Keeper

Ed Keeper looked set to win the three-mile handicap hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, he travelled really well into his race, he moved up nicely up on the outside around the home turn, he bagged the stands rail and he looked set to jump the last and go on and win. But he put in a short stride before the last and made a mistake, and he didn’t find as much as it looked like he was going to find after that. It may have been that he was tired on the run to the last, and that that is why he made the mistake. And he wasn’t closing on the winner Butch on the run up the hill, and the winner stays well, so it’s not certain that Ed Keeper would have won even if he had jumped the last well. That said, it may be that he was an unlucky loser, he looked the likely winner, he traded at 1.2 in-running probably on the run to the last.

Nigel Twiston-Davies’ horse is a talented and progressive staying hurdler, at it is significant that Sam Twiston-Davies preferred him here to his dad’s other runner in the race, The Newest One, who had been impressive in winning at Chepstow on his previous run. Ed Keeper had been impressive himself in winning a three-mile handicap hurdle at Newbury on good to soft ground on his previous run, and it may be that the heavy ground at Cheltenham was just a little softer than ideal. He is only six and he has raced just six times over hurdles, so he has plenty of scope for further progression. He could do even better now over this type of trip and on better ground.

Cheltenham, 1st January 2024