Yet another superb weekend of National Hunt racing now in the form books!
Fingers crossed we avoid any major debilitating cold snaps this season, we had more than our share last year!
I could probably name a raft of runners from this weekend past that caught my eye but sticking with my usual Monday theme here are 3 that I consider worthy of closer inspection in the coming months –
SHALIMAR FROMENTRO (N Williams) – Saturday – 2.10 Aintree – Faller in the Becher Chase
This horse has always intrigued me. Trainer Nick Williams spent precious little time over hurdles with the Martaline gelding (1 run in France then straight into the grade 2 Persian War Hurdle at Chepstow) before sending him over the larger obstacles. His first 3 chase runs were over UK fences and he then took in 3 valuable chases at Auteuil. Probably the most eye-catching performance was when he ran the potentially high class Wymott to half a length on his 2nd chase start at Exeter. He is still only a 5yo but on Saturday found himself pitched into the demanding Becher Chase over the National fences. To be fair to the lad he was travelling pretty well until tipping up at Bechers the second time around and he seemed to take to the unique fences more than adequately. His mark of 130 looks more than fair and I’m convinced he has a decent handicap in him somewhere, where that somewhere is though is anyone’s guess!
LIE FORRIT (W Amos) – Sunday – 1.00 Kelso – 1st in the 2m6f Novices’ Chase
The apple of Willie Amos’s eye and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to be glad to see the 7yo back on the racetrack after a year out with injury. He jumped superbly at his fences and jockey Campbell Gillies gave the horse a lovely introduction to fences, letting him do things in his own time before asking him to dig deep and peg back the leaders.
The following is an extract from a quick interview I had with Willie Amos before the start of the 2010/11 season regarding LIE FORRIT –
“He needs cut in the ground although against weaker opposition he should have no problem on a sounder surface. We’ve always thought he would jump fences and he was set to go novice chasing last term but he missed some work and we held him back for a season. He jumped 16 fences at home before heading off on his summer break and he never touched a twig; he jumped them perfectly. The impressive thing about this horse is that he really stays, even when he is going flat out for the entire race he still stays; not many horse can do that.”
The last comment is particularly interesting and yesterdays performance certainly backs up that sentiment. We must not forget that this horse was rated 155 over hurdles at one stage and he received that mark BEFORE he had ever faced Big Bucks (unlike a few other horses that seem to be rated on finishing ‘close’ to Big Bucks). Providing he comes out of Sunday’s race fit and well I can see him making quite a splash in the 3 mile+ novice chasing ranks this season.
PREMIER SAGAS (N Richards) – Sunday – 2.00 Kelso – 4th in the class 2 2m6f Handicap Chase
This was a decent performance from the 7yo over a trip that probably tests his stamina to the full. He was travelling well before hitting the 3rd last and that probably knocked what stuffing he had left in him out of there. 2m4f is probably his limit and hopefully connections will drop him back to around 2m – 2m4f on his next start. It should be noted that all 4 of his career victories have come in January, February or March and it could be that the first 3 months in the year are the best time to catch him. He was in amongst tough opposition on Sunday but I don’t think that sort of level is beyond him and he is dropping in the weights slightly which should make future assignments that bit easier.
Did any runners catch your eye over the weekend?
Drop me a comment below with your own eye-catchers and horses to watch over the coming months.
NTF National Hunt subscription service
It has been a fantastic start to the 2011/12 National Hunt season for NTF subscribers with this weekend past proving to be a considerable highlight – 8 races analysed providing 6 winning selections!
I have had a number of emails asking for a taster of what NTF provides (apologies if I’m yet to respond, I will get round to you all today) so I have pulled together the race summaries for the 8 races that were analysed over the weekend –
This is only the race summary section from each guide, the NTF guides offer a huge amount more information than just this.
Should you wish to join the NTF service until the end of the National Hunt season then please click on the following link –
Happy Punting – Ben (NTF)