Despite promising much early in his career, West Approach has won just 3 from 21 over jumps. There were significant signs from him last time out that he’s ready to make it 4 from 21 soon and, perhaps, finally blossom this season. I’m hoping The Betvictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday will see the first bloom.
I think his yard always believed he’d be a stayer, but I suspect he’s at his best short of 3 miles (he hasn’t won beyond 2m 5f)
He raced over 3m1f last time and, in a change of tactics under a new jockey ( R Johnson) he led for much of the race, fading toward the end. That might have been stamina draining away or ring rust on his seasonal debut, but I’ve never seen the horse race so enthusiastically. Maybe front-running is the key to him. If so, he has the pacemaking master in Richard Johnson back on board on Saturday.
I have slight concerns about his jumping in that he can over jump and throw a few worrying midair twists, but once Johnson got him in a rhythm last time, his jumping was fine.
The Tizzard stable is in fine form and I’m confident the horse will start at single figures on Saturday.
Another wee thing that might or might not be relevant, West Approach’s half brother Thistlecrack didn’t show his true ability until his seven-year-old career. West Approach is 8.
At the time of writing, 14/1 is available with several bookies.