The wasn’t a great deal in the way of top class action over the weekend for us National Hunt fans but I’ve always got my eye open for future winners and 2 went in my notebook over the weekend as ones to keep an eye on going forward.
The first is a lightly raced 9yo who is on a bit of a comeback mission and the second is a bumper runner who looks like he should have a bright future over obstacles…
NTF 1 to follow from the weekend: SCAMPI BOY…
SCAMPI BOY (P Webber) – 3rd in 3m Handicap Hurdle at Uttoxeter (3.55) – Saturday 13th April
This Flemensfirth gelding was a fairly hefty investment for Paul Webber as a 4yo, the trainer splashing out 70,000 Euro for him in 2008. The plan always looked to be chasing for him but unfortunately the horse injured a tendon at the back end of 2010 and took a rather long time recovering (so much so they took the decision to ‘fire him’ whilst at the same time allowing him to strengthen and grow). He returned this February at Fontwell (2 years+ since last run) for his belated chasing debut and showed plenty of promise before predictably fading into a well beaten 4th of 5. He them showed up at the Cheltenham Festival in the 4m National Hunt Chase as an unconsidered 150-1 shot where he traveled and jumped extremely well for a long time before making a sloppy error on the final circuit and un-shipping his amateur pilot, he was still well in contention at the time. He then reappeared this Saturday in a 3m handicap hurdle at Uttoxeter where he again traveled very smoothly and looked a huge danger in the home straight before just fading at the last into a 4 Length 3rd (he hit a low of 1.81 IR from an SP of 14.5).
A quick look at Paul Webber’s website tells me they took the decision to go back hurdling with him to preserve his Novice Chase status for next season, a move that looks a smart one to me. I would assume they shouldn’t want to waste much more time with this lad and it could well be a case of firing him back over fences as soon as the 2013/14 season kicks into gear (the end of April/start of May); he is after all a 9yo with very few miles on the clock and has a fairly hefty price tag to repay.
Webber doesn’t have a huge amount of summer runners but interestingly the ones he does have fire at a solid enough rate.
This is the record of his runners in June/July/August since 2007 –
25/120 | 21% S/R | +£74.44 BFLSP – Win & Place – 46/120 | 38% S/R
Pretty decent figures and he does fire in more winners than the market suggests he should.
We can tighten up the above mini-angle if we only concentrate on his runners that start at ISP of 16/1 or less –
25/95 | 26% S/R | +£99.39 BFLSP – Win & Place – 44/120 | 46% S/R
It is a tight little angle from a yard that doesn’t have many stars in it and a clear indicator that we should pay close attention to any runners that Webber keeps on the go over the summer months.
SCAMPI BOY could well be one of those runners although I guess with a history of leg problems they don’t want there to be too much firm in the going description. Wherever they go with him over fences, however, he looks of interest as he has the size and scope to win races over the larger obstacles and if he is kept on the go over the summer take note.
SCAMPI BOY ideal conditions – Novice or Handicap chases | Potentially at least Good to Soft ground | 2m4f+
NTF 1 to follow from the weekend: DEVIL’S DYKE…
DEVIL’S DYKE (E Williams) – 3rd in 2m Bumper at Ffos Las (5.30) – Sunday 14th April
This big, raw 5yo was held up out the back here on what was only his 3rd career start and he crept into contention turning for home to lay down a challenge in the final furlong. He couldn’t quite get to the winner but a 2 length 3rd was a fine effort on what was his first run for 139 days. He very much looks the sort to improve for a longer trip and obstacles and although cruising into contention easy enough he did take a while to click into the top gears. His first 2 runs came at Ludlow and although he ran with credit there (5th & 2nd) this more galloping tracks looked much more to his liking. He is a winning point-to-pointer and although it may eventually be fences where we see him at his absolute best he should have enough scope to make some sort of impact over hurdles as well, which one assumes will be his next step.
Williams is obviously keen to bring him along steadily and that looks a sensible move given that he is still a youngster and has a big enough frame to grow and mature into. I would expect significant improvement once he goes jumping and he looks a winner in waiting for the Evan Williams operation.
DEVIL’S DYKE ideal conditions – 2m4f+ | Galloping tracks
Ben – (NTF).
*Paul Webber figures sourced from the excellent Proform Professional Database