Thursday 22 June 2017

Back up the truck for Heist

The good ship Norman has been sailing in calmer waters these past weeks following the conclusion of the jumps season as we used to know it.

That hasn't stopped us looking for some winners to keep things moving along and sitting on our hands has proved easier said than done, with plenty of summer jumps action to keep the fingers twitching.

Most horses retain their usual characteristics despite the onset of summer but the change in ground and tempo of racing can revitalise some moodier types, making things somewhat unpredictable.

I'll confess I don't really 'get' summer jumps from a punting perspective but there are some gems to be had and one of them is an Irish trained horse named Heist.

I've followed the seven-year-old since he fell over the line in front at Sedgefield back in September 2015 - a race I documented here - and always felt he would flourish when his stamina was tested.

He's made terrific, and yet quiet, progress since then, only gradually stepped up in trip by shrewd handler P Griffin. He has only tackled today's trip of 3m on four occasions, winning three of them, two over fences.

While he's 4/10 over fences, he would have won more if he'd been campaigned over further earlier in his career; moreover, he has already won from a mark of 125 in that sphere despite him not being a particularly good jumper of larger obstacles.

He's 3/10 over timber, but I don't think he's an inferior hurdler and from today's perch of 124 I suspect he's around 6lb well-in.

This good ground horse had been rested over the winter but came back at Hexham in April to run a blinder despite being noticeably weak in the market, his staying-on third there proving he now requires 3m.

He was then brought to Ffos Las a month ago, when I thought he ran out a cosy winner of a slowly run affair which wouldn't have suited him. It looked as though he was going to be swallowed up going to the last, but his stamina kicked in and away he went.

A 3lb rise is no problem and we are almost guaranteed to get a solid run from Heist, who has only really run badly on three of his 20 career starts. He's ultra consistent, improving and has a very willing attitude.

The money this morning has been for Gingili, another with a fantastic 6/13 strike rate. He's not easy to weigh up as he tends to run his race despite looking one to be very wary of under pressure. He might take a bit of knowing but has STD on for the time. However he's up another 5lb for winning last time which means he must prove himself from a career-high mark. I think they should be the other way round in the market so at around 3/1 Heist is a confident choice.

Of the others, Mighty Leader looks to have been quite harshly treated and is another racing from a career-high mark of 120, while Benenden is a horse I've followed closely for a long time and he's basically won a couple of races that fell apart, yet is 5lb above that last winning mark. I think he's a bit soft as well.

Two potential spoilers are Awaywiththegreys, who is well handicapped but unreliable and arguably best with plenty of give underfoot, and King Massini, formerly a fair chaser who has unshipped his inexperienced jockey three times between the flags and now reverts to hurdles.

But whichever way I tackle this race I don't want to be against Heist, and thankfully he's a backable price so at this stage we have to step in.  

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