23/08- This week I’m going for one who I backed for last years festival but ended up not running, Southfield Harvest. Luckily I had NRNB so didn’t lose any money. I was gutted when he didn't go because I was extremely confident due to the fact that Paul Nicholls identified him as his horse that was most ahead of their mark. That’s some feat in his yard, especially as he was already rated 135 after only a handful of hurdles starts, he must show a lot at home for Nicholls to say that he had a few pounds in hand.
I find it interesting that instead of taking advantage of that mark, connections instead opted to go novice chasing straight away. He went off just 1/2 having opened at evens in a chase over 3 miles 2 furlongs and won by 6 lengths. Now if you look at the bare form you wouldn’t necessarily be overwhelmed, but when you consider everything was wrong that day and watch the replay you’ll start to see why I like him. His previous best runs have come on either soft or good to soft (though he did win a bumper on good), and this particular race was a good summer ground that wouldn’t have been quite to suit. His jumping wasn’t perfect and he made a few mistakes but was never headed. Bryony Frost actually lost her irons at one point and despite all this, he was 10 lengths clear at the last and was eased down to win with ease.
What I liked most was despite losing irons and making a couple of mistakes, he didn’t shy away from any fences and actually grew in confidence and his jumping got much better throughout the race. For a first time over fences, that’s always a positive to me and I'd expect a much more fluent performance when we see him next.
On pedigree he’s well related, his sire, Kayf Tiara, is by super sire Saddler’s Wells. Kayf Tiara has himself sired Thistlecrack who was a top-class chaser, as well as some other excellent horses including Stayers’ principal, Thyme Hill, Identity Thief and Blaklion. He has three half-siblings on the mares' side older than him, all rated around the 160 mark, Southfield Theatre was actually 2nd in the RSA won by Don Poli and Southfield Royale was 4th in the National Hunt Chase, having won a grade two novice Chase, and finishing second in the grade one Kauto Star Novice Chase, finishing three lengths ahead of Gold Cup winner Native River. So on pedigree alone, he looks very exciting.
He has never finished outside the places in 8 runs from 2 miles, all the way up to the 3 miles 2. I really like him and at the moment I’ll be backing him for the National Hunt Chase at 33/1, as he stays all day and relished that long trip last time. But will also be backing him in the 'any race' market when he becomes available as I could also see him go for one of the handicap chases, or even the RSA.