With the National Hunt scene now cranked up to close to warp speed (expect that transition to happen somewhere before the start of the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby!) I’m fully immersing myself in the day to day jumping action. Plenty of things have been catching my eye, none more so than potential horses and jockeys to follow for the coming season.
There has been one young jockey in particular that has been coming onto my radar with eye-catching frequency, however, before I tell you who that is I have a guest post from a fellow blogger who has a rather interesting ‘horse to follow’ for us.
I’ll now hand you over to Ian from the excellent ‘Wayward Lad’ racing Blog –
Horse to follow…….
Ben has invited me to cast my eye over the form for last year’s Jumps season and produce a horse exclusively for his readers to follow for the rest of the 2011-12 season. When I look at form, I try to find areas of disparity that are unfair, that way I hope to find under-rated performances. One of the most intriguing areas of such “prejudice” is with Irish trained novice chasers which, despite winning both the Arkle and RSA Chase at the Festival in both 2009 and 2010, where again overlooked and under-rated coming into the Festival in 2011. I personally rate the Irish novice chase form of last season a lot higher than my “English” compatriots, and that (by chance) leads me to a horse I think is considerably under-rated and in training on this side of the Irish Sea – SARANDO.
SARANDO is a 6yo, 2nd season chaser trained by Paul Webber. He first came to my attention when running the highly rated (at the time) Salden Licht to a neck at Plumpton in January 2010. Salden Licht is now rated OR155 over hurdles. He was a novice chaser last season, winning for the only time at Plumpton over 2m4f on heavy. Most of his best form has been on ground which is soft/heavy and that is why I rate the final race of his novice chase season so highly. At Aintree in April, on going that was quicker than he’d run on previously, he got his jumping together (which has been ropey at times) and pushed highly rated Irish novice chaser Quito De La Roque to a neck. That Irish novice then went onto Punchestown and won the Grade 1 champion novice chase by 14-lengths to make it 5 wins from 6 chases, his only defeat being by Bostons Angel who went on to win the RSA Chase at the Festival (this Irish novice chase form really stacks up). Quito De La Rogue is now on OR159, and SARANDO is on OR149. Behind SARANDO at Aintree was Wayward Prince who was 3rd in the RSA plus some other highly rated novice chasers, but he and the others were seen off by the strong pace set (in the main) by SARANDO. I believe the scene is set for SARANDO – a half-brother to Champion Hurdle 4th (2003) Self Defence – to improve hand-over-fist this season as a chaser. Trainer Paul Webber has given the horse a pipe-opener over the flat earlier this month and he holds an entry in the Hennessey Gold Cup.
Thanks from Wayward Lad
Ian has been on the Blogging scene since March 2010 and is one of a number of Blogs that I personally enjoying reading. His post yesterday also featured a few horses he deems worthy of following this 2011/12 National Hunt season. Take a look for yourself and see what you think.
Now onto that jockey I was talking about……
Jockey to follow………
The jockey in question is young Kielan Woods who has been making hay this season for the impressive Charlie Longsdon yard.
His overall record for the 2011/12 season already makes for exciting reading –
10/32 | 31% S/R | +£28.27 LSP
The 7lbs that he is currently able to claim probably won’t last that long but Charlie Longsdon is making damn sure he gets the best out of it.
Although the main bulk of his rides have been coming from Longsdon (14 rides | 7 wins | 50% S/R | +£13.02 LSP) trainer Phil Middleton has also used the young Irishman on a number of occasions (11 rides | 3 wins | 27% S/R | +£22.25 LSP).
There have only been a handful of other yards to date that have given Woods some spare rides but if he continues in a similar manner to which he has started the season then it is surely only a matter of time before the bigger yards come calling in his direction.
Watch out for Woods……