Tag Archive for: Back On The Lash

Keighley hoping to be back in business in cross country

Back On The Lash will bid to set the record straight for trainer Martin Keighley in the Glenfarclas Chase at Cheltenham in a fortnight’s time.

The locally-based trainer thought he had finally broken his Festival duck in the cross-country race six years ago when Any Currency passed the post in front. But the popular veteran was later disqualified after he was found to have traces of a substance permitted for horses in training but banned on racedays in his post-race sample.

Back On The Lash proved he has what it takes to win around the unique circuit when striking gold at the November meeting – and while he could only finish fifth when favourite to double his tally the following month, Keighley is quietly confident about his chances ahead of his return to Prestbury Park.

He said: “It was gutting for Any Currency to lose the race, but we’ve got a nice horse in the cross country this time in Back On The Lash.

“He won the November race at the first attempt, which I’m told hasn’t been done before, which proves how well he took to the course.

“Sean Bowen felt he was flat at the December meeting, so he’s had a break and is a horse that runs well fresh, so he could run a big race.”

Back On The Lash could be Keighley’s only runner at this year’s Festival.

The Moreton-On-Marsh handler would love to run dual winner Brorson in the Pertemps Final, but he is unlikely to make the cut.

Brorson in winning action at Catterick
Brorson in winning action at Catterick (Simon Marper/PA)

Irish recruit Spanish Present recently made a winning debut for the team in a Market Rasen bumper, but Keighley is unsure whether a tilt at the Champion Bumper could be a bridge too far at this stage.

He added: “Spanish Present was an impressive bumper winner last week. The sensible thing would be to wait for Aintree instead of taking on the Willie Mullins horses at Cheltenham, but he’s a six-year-old who has experience, so we’ll have a look at it.

“Brorson is a young improving horse who has been impressive twice this season, but it doesn’t look like he’s going to get in the Pertemps.

“He’d love good ground and he’s got good form at the course – he was second to a good horse of Gordon Elliott’s (Top Bandit) over two miles – and he’s improved massively for stepping up to three.

“I think he’d have a solid each-way chance if he gets in.”

Lash Back for more in Cross Country heat at Cheltenham

Martin Keighley will run both Back On The Lash and Talkischeap in Friday’s Glenfarclas Crystal Cup Cross Country Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.

The stablemates both lined up over the cross country course last month and endured differing fortunes.

Talkischeap, a new arrival at the yard from Alan King, for whom he won the bet365 Gold Cup in 2019, unseated Tom Bellamy when still in contention but Back On The Lash flew up the hill to beat Singing Banjo by a neck.

“Both of them are going to run. They both seem in good form and really enjoyed it when I took them for a school round last week,” said Keighley.

“It just shows how different it is as it looked like Back On The Lash needed every yard of three-miles-six (furlongs), yet not long ago he was winning over just over two and a half miles. He’s tiny as well. I don’t know what it is but he just loves it around there.”

He may also have a bigger target on the horizon.

“I’ve spoken to the owners about the National and he probably will have an entry and see how we get on,” said Keighley.

“When he runs on Friday, he’ll then have a winter break and come back in the cross country at the Festival when he’ll be nice and fresh.

“We could consider the National. It might be a year too soon as he’s only seven going on eight, but he’ll definitely have an entry.

“Talkischeap has been a good horse, he stays very well, so hopefully they’ll both run big races.”

Back On The Lash claims cross-country spoils

Back On The Lash stayed on strongly up the hill to win a thrilling race for the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.

After 32 fences and three and three-quarter miles, it was the Martin Keighley-trained seven-year-old who got up in the final half-furlong to land the spoils in the hands of Sean Bowen.

Back On The Lash, who was backed down to 4-1 favourite, was never too far off the pace set by Potters Corner and Alpha Des Obeaux – but he was only fourth jumping the second-last fence.

Diesel D’Allier, the winner in 2019, led at that point and looked like landing the honours for a second time, only to give way in the closing stages.

Back On The Lash (black cap, right) tracks the front-runners
Back On The Lash (black cap, right) tracks the front-runners (Zac Goodwin/PA)

The race developed into a duel on the climb home between Back On The Lash and Singing Banjo, with the former prevailing by a neck.

Diesel D’Allier was a length and a half back in third followed by the Henry de Bromhead-trained pair of Plan Of Attack and Balko Des Flos.

“He’s just a novice chaser, but we took him schooling a few times around Cheltenham and he just seemed to absolutely love it,” Keighley said.

“We thought we’d give it a go and Sean’s ride was just outstanding.

“I thought it was a really good performance, the trip was a big question mark but he made it really well.

“He’s so tough, his jumping for a novice was perfect. We’re very, very pleased.

“He’ll be aimed at coming back here (Cheltenham) for the cross country at the December meeting, definitely.”