Champion Hurdle, Le Patriote
Was very much up against it in the Champion Hurdle but ran with great credit for a long way and can be marked up considerably on his eventual finishing position. Having raced midfield on the outside of the pack, he made really nice headway as they raced down the hill to the third last, travelling a good deal better than a lot of the field having also made an error at the previous hurdle. He was still right in the firing line as the jumped 2 out, but understandably faded from the home turn against higher class horses and on ground is simply doesn’t like. A speed horse, all his best form is on a better surface and rated 2lbs higher than when winning the Swinton Hurdle last May, he’s fairly treated if returned to handicap company. He’d also be interesting if tried over fences again, as he ran well for a long way behind Mister Fisher on his chase debut when pitched in at the deep end, and that may well be a path connections try next season.
Coral Cup, Coko Beach
Still relatively lightly raced and this was the most competitive race he’d run in since running 2nd in the Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at last years Festival. Racing in midfield early on, he made some nice headway through the field but was knocked sideways when Champagne Well fell at the 2nd last hurdle, losing upwards of 5 lengths and all momentum. Under the circumstances he dd well to finish 9th beaten around 10 lengths, finishing off his race really strongly to pass a number of horses in the home straight. He’s a fair deal better than this with the first time headgear perhaps proving a big help. Only a 5yo, we’ll no doubt see a good deal more from him and he can play a big part in some nice handicaps going forward.
Coral Cup, Champagne Well
It’s always tricky to quite evaluate where a horse would have finished when falling 2 out with plenty of racing to go in a competitive handicap like the Coral Cup, but Champagne Well looked to have plenty left in the tank and from his previous form we know he finds plenty for pressure. He’d moved through the field from halfway to get himself into a rally good position on the outside of the field approaching two out and still travelling well within himself, only to catch his hind legs on the hurdle and stumble badly. He lost all chance and was sensibly allowed to come home in his own time, being pulled up before the final flight. With a clear round we’re sure he’d have finished in the places. He’d been progressing nicely throughout the season and looks to be on a very workable handicap mark.
Boodles Hurdle, Gealach
Having never travelled throughout the race following a slow jump at the first hurdle, Gealach showed bundles of guts, effort and ability to be staying on as well as anything to finish a very creditable 8th place. He was always struggling to go the pace, being niggled and asked to keep tabs with the field for much of the race, he kept finding when asked and probably jumped the last hurdle as well as any. He’d related to a few staying types on the flat and looks like he’d really be suited by more of a test of stamina and less requirement of natural pace. Rated just 129 going into this, he’ll have plenty of options going forward and his shrewd stable are sure to place him to good effect.
Boodles Hurdle, Thyme White
Not really a case of an eye-catcher in terms of his future over hurdles, but one that will be of interest when sent over fences, perhaps next season. He travelled through this race extremely well and perhaps to well, jumping his hurdles beautifully and without effort. Harry Cobden hadn’t moved a muscle when they jumped the second last and he looked like he’d be a major player, but when they quickened for home he didn’t have the required pace to stay competitive and was then looked after having jumped the final flight. He’s a really big scopey imposing 4yo who towered over the majority of his rivals. He’ll benefit hugely from time, allowing his to strengthen up and fill into his frame and is sure to prove considerably better than his in time, over hurdles and when he’s sent over fences.
Pertemps Hurdle, Third Wind
Pretty inexperienced going into such a competitive handicap like this having raced just 8 times previously. He’d shown he excels in soft ground previously when winning a decent Novices Handicap Hurdle at Sandown last March and also on his previous start when successful at Wincanton in heavy ground; so these slightly drying tacky conditions were perhaps not ideal. Held up early on here, he got in close to the 2nd hurdle, losing early ground and finding himself a couple of lengths of the main pack, he also got in tight to the 4th hurdle again causing him to lose a little ground. Always travelling within himself and with improved jumping he kept in touch with the pack quite comfortably but was still a long way back. Asked to get competitive from 3 out, he gradually made ground to get himself into a competitive position with two to jump. Whilst not matching the front two, he continued to finish his race off well to finish and excellent 4th place. Very much capable of winning off his current mark, especially when conditions are testing, he may also be sent over fences next season, as he has the size for chasing.
Brown Advisory, Livelovelaugh
No spring chicken as a 10yo, but he ran really well here and is well worth noting for as he’s lightly raced and could easily hold his form for next season. He’s been tried over various trips since sent chasing, even contesting last years Grand National, but 2 ½ miles is most certainly his best trip. Having travelled and jumped really well just off the pace, he was literally bought to a standstill by La Bague Au Roi when that one took a tumble, losing a considerable amount of ground. To his credit he then made up ground passing several rivals to pretty much get back into the same position before being hampered, perhaps making up that ground a little quicker than ideal and using up a fair amount of energy. Still in contention 2 out, that effort to get back into the race told in the closing stages he could only plug on into 8th place. He has tended to need a outing, so we’ll be looking out for an early an early run and then perhaps a tilt at the Paddy Power Gold Cup back here in November.
Kim Muir, Champagne Platinum
May well have been one of those JP McManus Festival plots that didn’t quite come off, as he was significantly backed in the build-up to Cheltenham. Completely unexposed after just 2 races over fences, all of which were over significantly short trips he’s definitely got a lot more to offer in the seasons to come & is clearly well regarded having been asked to contest a Grade 1 Hurdle last season. A little sketchy early on and held up early on, he then settled into his jumping and made his way through the field very comfortably. Seemingly travelling very well 3 out he looked to be cruising behind the leaders as they turned for home, but when asked for his effort he’d clearly reached the reserves of his stamina and unable to go through with his effort. He’s without doubt very well handicapped and when dropping back in trip can take advantage of that handicap mark. He may well be a player contender come the Paddy Power Gold Cup in November as well.
Martin Pipe Hurdle, Column Of Fire
Having started off slowly and held up off the pace, he made progress through the field around the first part of the race to be just off the leaders as they approached the top of the hill, traveling very well and maintaining his position up the back straight. Still travelling sweetly over 2 out, he was asked to get competitive as they turned for home and made ground up rapidly to then be pretty much upsides the leaders as they approached the final flight only to misjudge the hurdle, clipping his front legs and coming down. Having finished strongly over 3 miles on his previous outing, he’d surely having finished his race off well here but for falling and would have probably been victorious. Still very much unexposed with that being just his 2nd handicap start, compensation awaits.
Martin Pipe Hurdle, The Bosses Oscar
Caught up in the early battle for places on this inside, he was slightly hampered over the 2nd flight finding himself near the back of the field early on. He was also less than fluent jumping the hurdle as they went out for the final circuit, and then caught his hind legs at the 2nd hurdle along the back straight which aw him drop to last place. Still near the back and being pushed along as they jumped 3 out, he did make up some ground as they raced down the hill towards the second last, but still had a lot of ground to make up. To his credit he continued to battle for one so inexperienced and was staying on really well into a promising position approaching the final flight, only to be then hampered at the final flight. Once he regained his momentum, he stayed on strongly again to finish a very good 5th. That was only his 4th run over hurdles, so has plenty of improvement to come and he looks like he’d relish stepping up to 3 miles.