He doesn’t help himself, does he? He is like a schoolboy who diligently does all his homework and then leaves his copybook on the bus. Or a golfer who makes the green in two on a par five but ends up with an eight. Or a Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? contestant who gets all the way to the £1 million question without losing a lifeline and then guesses wrong without using any of them.
Oh, yes, if Asterion Forlonge had brains he would be very dangerous indeed.
The giant gray has gone through life messing with our heads. Just when we think we have him sussed, he goes and headbutts a fence to keep us all guessing again.
The first chapter of this gripping thriller was penned in the 2020 Supreme. Backed into 9-4 favorite after winning the Grade 1 novice hurdle on this very weekend two years ago, he decided to veer violently to his right at every flight. Poor Elixir D’Ainay and Captain Guinness were wiped out at the second-last.
He was on his best behavior when making a winning chase debut at Punchestown but then, after jumping fluently throughout, he fell five out in the Faugheen Novice Chase at Limerick for no reason whatsoever. He never supplies us with an explanation.
He got only as far as the first in his big showdown with Envoy Allen next time, and was no match for Monkfish, Chantry House or Janidil in his next three outings in Grade 1s. We presumed he just wasn’t that good. If only it were that simple.
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The Gray Asterion Forlonge heads towards the deck at the first when taking on Envoi Allen last season
Then, lo and behold, he comes out and carries top weight in a competitive novice handicap chase at the Punchestown festival and bolts up by 14 lengths, posting a Racing Post Rating of 169. It was like watching One Man in his pomp.
And so to the current campaign. For two-thirds of the John Durkan it was pure bliss. He and Bryan Cooper were in perfect harmony, soaring over fences and traveling all over everything else – even Allaho. Crash. Bang. Wallop. He’s gone again. Those who took the 1.39 on Betfair in running will never forgive themselves. They will never learn.
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Asterion Forlonge comes down at the last in the King George VI Chase
As he began to close down Tornado Flyer in the King George we wondered whether he might finally have his day in the sun. Then the heavens opened. Down at the last. He jumped it brilliantly and gave it plenty of air but just forgot his landing gear. It was Asterion Forlonge doing Asterion Forlonge things.
What can we expect this time? Your guess is as good as mine. We think he needs to go right-handed but you may forget all you thought you knew about Asterion Forlonge because he remains a glorious mystery.
Best of luck, mate. You make life more interesting and we love you for it.
Read all of Saturday’s previews:
3.15 Leopardstown: Irish Gold Cup: key quotes and analysis as Frodo, Kemboy and Minella Indo clash
1.05 Leopardstown: Hollow Games has most to fear from fast-improving stablemate Minella Crooner
1.35 Leopardstown: Fil Dor bids to cement Triumph hopes but Vauban ‘the one to beat’, says Elliott
2.10 Leopardstown: Blue Lord bids to fill void left by Ferny Hollow for Mullins in Irish Arkle
2.20 Sandown: L’Homme Presse and Pic D’Orhy set for Sandown showdown in Scilly Isles
2.30 Wetherby: Lucinda Russell looks for ‘confidence booster’ to put Ahoy Senor back on track
3.30 Sandown: Could course specialists prove the key to a race with a rich history
3.45 Musselburgh: Questions over ground and jumping – who can come up with the winning answer?
Catch our new in-depth review of the weekend’s racing every Monday in the Racing Post. With big-race analysis from Grand National-winning jockey Leighton Aspell, Chris Cook’s take on the weekend action, eyecatchers from the Raceform team, weekly awards and more, it is not to be missed.