In true correlation to his name Wall of Fire has literally burned his way through the staying handicap division. He’s now a top rated stayer and a stalwart in graded staying races, he’s only a 4 year old but his progression has been fast and relentless.
It is somewhat hard to believe that this horse had enough speed to win his maiden debut over 6f’s at Ascot. He possesses an incredible turn of foot and that gives him a huge edge in the final stages of staying racing. For a long while his connections have felt he needed a mile. For months they persevered with him over similar trips however a change came under the champ Jim Crowley. After winning at Haydock over 10f’s on soft ground he was then sent to Goodwood but never got into the race after a difficult start. Jim Crowley reported that the horse got outpaced before being hampered badly while staying on under hands and heels riding. Hugo Palmer reported a week later he would be stepped up in trip and it is from then the horse went straight into my notebook.
He was duly sent to York for the Melrose over 1m 6f as a massively overpriced horse. First price 33-1 and it’s fair to say we were all over it. He was heavily backed into 16-1 and absolutely bolted up by 3l’s, turning for home he was last but Buick soon kicked his 6f’s speed into gear and he fairly flew home. Palmer had now found his trip and for now at least the future looked extremely promising. Next on the agenda was The Mallard at Doncaster, in stark contrast to The Melrose he went off a very solid favourite. Again dropped out in last turning for home he had a mountain to climb however climb he did and although only winning by a small margin he did it in good style. After this race and a tough season for any 3 year old Palmer decided to put him away for the winter season.
He made a very pleasing return in the Dubai Gold Cup where he was always behind on rattling fast ground. He kept on well suggesting he retained all of his ability and it also confirmed he had what it takes to make the step up into graded company. He has had one run since where he was beaten a short head, his quirks getting the better of him as he hit the front and idled over a trip too short. He showed he could travel that day which should mean the next time we see him over further he should be placed closer to the pace. I have made no secret to the fact I think this horse is made for the Ascot Gold Cup. A real strong stamina test at proper grade 1 level pace will suit this horse down to the ground. I backed him after The Mallard and it’s fair to say he looks good value now however you can guarantee after he wins a few early season cup races his current price will look big come Ascot Gold Cup day.