Flag can fly high in Peter Marsh Chase
Green Flag has some solid form to his name and looks weighted to take all the beating in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock today (3.15).
Trained in Scotland by Lucinda Russell, the gelding won his first three starts over fences last season in good style when jumping well and staying on strongly at the end of each.
The seven-year-old then ran well to finish runner-up to Annacotty in the Grade 1 Feltham Chase at Kempton, before suffering an unfortunate mishap when clipping heels and slipping up approaching the ninth fence when travelling strongly in a Grade 2 contest at Wetherby.
To my mind Green Flag would have won that day, and he showed no lasting effects when going on to finish a cracking 11 1/4 lengths fourth of 23 to Holywell in the 3m 1f Baylis & Harding Affordable Luxury Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham off a mark of 143 on his next start.
Green Flag was unlucky not to finish much closer as he lost his position when getting hampered by a faller at the eighth fence and then got outpaced three from home when the tempo quickened before picking up in tremendous style and finishing with a real rattle to be gaining all the way to the line.
The form of the race couldn’t have worked out better, with the winner going on to bolt up up by 10 lengths in the Grade 1 Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree to earn an official rating of 163 and the runner-up Ma Filleule winning the Topham Chase at the same meeting off a mark of 150.
Green Flag was receiving just 2lb from those two rivals, so in the circumstances it was a huge effort given how the race panned out.
The son of Milan went on to round-off the season with an excellent sixth of 29 to Alco in the Coral Scottish Grand National, and shaped well on reappearance at Carlisle over an inadequate 2m 4f when fourth to subsequent Hennessy winner Many Clouds.
Green Flag was then beaten a long way when finishing 12th of 25 to Oscar Time over the Grand National fences in the Becher Chase at Aintree last time out, but did jump fantastically well.
I feel that this track will suit him far better, and the handicapper has since dropped him 2lb sto a mark of 140.
That makes Green Flag look well-treated on the pick of his form, especially on his run behind Holywell at the Cheltenham Festival, and with Peter Buchanan in the saddle he looks the one they all have to beat.