After an enforced absence from the ‘1 to follow’ activities last week I’m back today with one slightly under the radar runner that caught my eye at Wincanton on Saturday…
TONY STAR (P Hobbs) – Saturday 2.15 Wincanton – 4th in the 2m5f Grade 2 Novices’ Chase
This 5yo showed up well for a very long way in what was a tough enough task for his chasing debut. In 13 previous career starts he had never found himself in higher company than a Grade 3 Handicap but on Saturday he was pitched straight into Grade 2 company. It may not have been the strongest of Grade 2’s but there must have been plenty of easier assignments elsewhere for him. On the whole his jumping was neat and tidy for his first public appearance over fences and he was able to mix it with the main protagonists for the majority of the contest. His first real mistake came at the cross fence 4 from home and that lost him vital ground at a time when the eventual winner started to turn the taps to full. To his credit he stuck to his task and a 9 length 4th placed finish is not to be sniffed at.
As already mentioned this was a high enough level for him to be pitched into on debut and a lowering of his sights should be enough to see him break his chasing duck.
A quick look at his Dosage figures tell me that these sort of 2m4/5f trips should, in theory, be ideal for him…
TONY STAR Dosage Figures – 2-1-5-2-0 (10) | 1.22 | 0.30
I have a feeling that Saturday’s contest may have been run half a step or more too slowly for him and as such I do think he would benefit from a faster run contest. His best runs over timber came when he was able to sit out the back of double figure fields (or at least a strongly run smaller field) and that may well also be the key to him now he has been sent over fences. With that in mind it could be that we won’t really see the best of him until he is sent down the handicap route.
I would expect him to have the scope to make into a better chaser than he was a hurdler and this was certainly a pleasing debut from the 5yo over the larger obstacles.
Who were the runners that caught your attention and went in your own notebook as ones to follow from the weekend?
Did you see any clear-cut Cheltenham Festival contenders amongst the weekends runners?
Drop me a comment below and share your runners to follow from the weekend with the NTF community.
Ben – (NTF)