Leading trainer Kim Bailey has had a superb season to date and he is looking for his first Grade One of the season with First Flow as he gives the consistent chaser his chance in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot on Saturday.
The nine year old deserves his chance at the highest level having now won his last five events over fences with the gelding at the back end of last term going on to land a hat-trick of wins at Leicester, Doncaster and Carlisle and backing that up this term at Ascot and Wetherby last time out.
His first run this season came over the course and distance of the Clarence House Chase on Saturday and he was a gritty winner of a decent handicap chase.
Put into another handicap last time out at Wetherby in treacherous conditions, he just did enough in the final stages to keep his unbeaten record going and the more rain the better for this horse at the weekend.
(Credit ATR) “He deserves to have one chance in a Grade One and I think this is the one time we have to go for it because he runs well at Ascot and he goes well on heavy ground,” Bailey said.
“He’s the only horse in my entire yard who loves this (heavy) ground – he had a hard old race last time but he won because of the ground.
“He’s one of those horses who will run into a brick wall for you. He’s as tough as they come.
“It was an extraordinary performance at Wetherby. The ground was as bad as I’ve ever seen at a racecourse that day. It was as stunning performance as I’ve seen.”
The handler admits that if you would have told him that First Flow would be going for this Grade One he would have laughed but with how progressive the the horse has been he is looking forward to seeing how his gelding fairs at the top level.
He went on: “The thought of taking on Politologue and Waiting Patiently and Defi Du Seuil was something I never thought would happen at this stage of his life.
“But he has every right to be going there, providing the race hasn’t taken too much out of him from Wetherby which it doesn’t seem to have done.
“He’s got to go there on his preference of a right-handed track on a course he likes on ground he likes. He’s not likely to get it at any other time of his career.”