On The Fringe looks a cut above Foxhunter rivals
David Metcalf | March 16, 2016
On The Fringe holds all the aces in St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase
On The Fringe looks a worthy favourite to land back-to-back successes in the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival (16.10).
The Enda Bolger trained 11-year-old has won nine of his 18 starts over fences, and could not have been more impressive when landing this race 12 months ago.
After being held-up in mid-division by Nina Carberry, On The Fringe cruised into contention before taking up the running two from home and sauntering clear to score by 17 lengths.
The gelding went on to score in terrific style at Aintree, and then rounded off the campaign with a battling length success at the Punchestown Festival.
Class act primed to defend crown
To win those three races in such a short period of time was an outstanding achievement, and On The Fringe is undoubtedly a class act in this sphere.
Although well beaten when just seventh on return to action at Leopardstown, the JP McManus owned son of Exit To Nowhere usually needs a run to put him straight and is sure to be spot on to defend his crown.
With Carberry once again in the saddle, On The Fringe is going to be very hard to beat.
Paint The Clouds the main danger
Paint The Clouds was beaten 17 1/4 lengths when third in last year’s renewal but ran better than that indicates.
The Warren Greatex trained 11-year-old was in front three from home, but then weakened on ground which was too soft for him.
Paint The Clouds now has the going that he relishes, and comes into the race having scored in good style at Doncaster following 271 days on the sidelines.
The gelding is entitled to improve significantly for that run, and it would be no surprise to see Paint The Clouds finish much closer to On The Fringe this time round.
All eyes on Pendleton
Pacha Du Polder who will be a first Festival ride for former Olympic cycling Gold medalist Victoria Pendleton.
The gelding ran very well when chasing home On The Fringe at Aintree last year, and comes into the race in good nick after making all to register a wide margin success at Wincanton.
The nine-year-old has a touch of class and looks capable of giving Pendleton a good spin granted a clear round, but has major stamina questions to answer over the 3m 2f trip.