Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Northern handicappers to follow

Horses to follow season is well underway - it seems to get earlier each year - and with FOMO very much in mind (that's the 'Fear Of Missing Out' for those of you not up to speed with those pesky acronyms) here's a handful of modestly talented animals to keep in mind this Autumn.

Absolutely Dylan S Smith 12

I first saw this 5yro at Sedgefield last November when he was almost unrideable, jocking Danny Cook off twice in the parade ring and then on the way to post, eventually causing his withdrawal.

He was still lairy on next two educational visits to the track, but on his third start showed distinct promise behind a good benchmark in Ballinslea Bridge, who won again next time.

He looked on the lean side that day, and while he didn't have to be anywhere near that form to land the weakest of contests three weeks later, one suspects he had done enough for the season when disappointing on his final two starts.

As a result he now looks positioned to have a successful season starting from a mark of 110, with 2m4f on soft appearing to be the ideal starting point. He undoubtedly has the outlook of a typical son of Scorpion, but hopefully his tough taskmasters will keep his mind in the right place.

Mac N Cheese K Dalgleish

It would have been remiss not to include one trained by Keith Dalgleish considering the Scottish handler's terrific strike rate over jumps, and this brother to Eider Chase winner Milborough fits the bill.

I've a soft spot for the eight-year-old after he landed a right old touch when trained by Rose Dobbin over timber, but he wasn't seen for almost two years afterwards.

However, he quickly supplemented that early promise when bolting up on his return at Perth last September, before embarking on a chasing career. That was soon shelved though after a second round of novicey jumping that resulted in a fall at Newcastle.

He bounced back again, however, returned to hurdles when outstaying his rivals in a Kelso bog in February, after which he was put away.

A lengthy injury absence is always a huge concern, but if the wheels stay on and his astute trainer can iron out the jumping flaws, he looks handicapped to prosper this winter starting out on 119.

Porto Du Sud R Menzies

This hard-pulling five-year-old belied long odds on three occasions this time last year to reveal a small amount of ability in novice hurdles, but was then absent from the track until May.

Failing to trouble the judge once again in another trio of spins in late spring means 5lb has been lopped off his original mark (now 103), leaving the youngster in a more attractive position to strike in the hope that he starts to settle better.

Optimum conditions are sketchy at this stage, but he could turn out to be best at 2m on softish ground, having been handicapped on largely sound terrain, although he could prove just as effective over further.

Shepherd's Bight R Jefferson 4

This son of Court Cave had shown precious little prior to landing a weak handicap hurdle at Kelso in May, but he starts the new campaign on just a 4lb higher mark of 109.

The 6yro jumped notably well in what was his first handicap so despite this inexperience it wouldn't be at all surprising if he went straight over fences this autumn.

He was strong at the line suggesting that distances of 3m+ will suit from now on, while on the admittedly light evidence so far he may be best away from deep winter ground.

He looks a type the trainer's father thrived on and he could improve in leaps and bounds after another summer off, be it over hurdles or fences.

Shine Baby Shine P Kirby

Twice a winner at a lowly level on Southwell's fibresand, this juvenile filly showed great aptitude for the winter game, scoring in a novice hurdle at Catterick in January.

She was then sent on mission impossible down south on her next two starts, but all was not lost as it served to see her tumble 7lb in the charts.

A perch of 112 still possibly leaves her something to find, but it's interesting that she's been given the summer off to further strengthen into her ample frame. Connections also have an ace up their sleeve in that she clearly stays well, and will surely thrive over 2m4f this term.

Don't be surprised to see her appear on the Fibresand at some stage as her mark of 61 ought to bring further gains. The best is yet to come.

* At some stage in the near future I'll post another five to follow from southern-based stables. These will not include Point-to-Pointers that cost the earth and be over-bet all season, bumper horses that caught everyone's eye, or Kalashnikov.

These pages will then be updated frequently in the coming months, and may even include some video content (FOMO!)

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