Sunday 28 February
Cloonacool ran a cracking race to be third in the Grade 2 Pendil Novices Chase in Kempton yesterday. Upped in grade, and upped in trip Cloonacool went into the race in good form, but this was a stiffer task than his previous race in Ludlow. Third in the betting he was not out of place, and he did run well. He travelled strongly, and all bar the ninth where he took off way too soon and landed on top of the open ditch, he jumped really well. A mistake like that would knock the stuffing out of most horses, but he is ultra tough and got himself back into it down the back. he stumbled slightly at the last in the back straight and lost a further length, where I believe he also lost a front shoe, but again rallied to be just a length down as the jumped the third last. It was at this point that his stamina ran out. We were not sure directly after the race if it was the mistake that had cost him, but looking back at the Channel 4 replay this morning, to me it is very clear that his stamina ran out as he landed over the third last, and he was never going to win from there. A shame, as if he stayed the little bit extra he would have a wealth of opportunities going forward - but rest assured he can still take high rank in the 2 mile division. You have to sit back and think that he was placed in a Grade 2 yesterday, and if I had told his owners that they would be placed in the Grade 2 Pendil when they purchased him they would have been over the moon - so no need to be disappointed with his run yesterday - we knew it was a bit of an experiment going in, and it didn't work out - there will be other days for him! Stuart reports that he seems fine this morning, and plans remain intact to go to Ascot next, (although there is the option of a Ludlow a week earlier).