Welcome to this new feature guest post – The Little Black Book – courtesy of Adam Norman, who introduces himself below.
In what will be a fortnightly feature throughout the winter jumps season we have the chance to delve into the notebook mind of a professional punter, who’s main edge is being track-side on the northern circuit.
This window into Adam’s racing adventures offers us a unique insight into his race reading and how he pinpoints horses of interest. There are some factors -especially fitness, conformation and physique – that you can only see track side. This is our window into his world and his extensive racing knowledge.
Every two weeks Adam will aim to highlight 4-6 horses that caught his eye from his visits to the races. They will be split into ‘short term’ ‘medium term’ and ‘long term’ horses of interest, to use and refer back to as you please. This format is exclusive to this blog, as are some of the horses noted, but builds on Adam’s own blog ‘Notes from the North’. This is often updated after each track visit and is worth a read.
Adam’s an expert in our midst and i’m delighted to publish a free regular feature on these pages that will be informative, enlightening and with any luck profitable over time!
All comments are welcome and encouraged, and if you don’t want to miss the next post, do join my free email list if you haven’t already done so, HERE>>>
So, get your little black books and trackers at the ready, and delve into Adam’s first article below… (details on where to find his blog and his twitter profile follow below)
…over to Adam….
I’ve been going racing since I was a boy and have built up an understanding of what to look for in a horse in more than three decades at the track. I have been betting for a living since 2014, and writing a regular blog about my days at the races. In this fortnightly diary I’ll be pinpointing the horses that caught my eye – from those that are ready to go in next time, to some winners that could be more than a year in the making. Here’s to a profitable winter!
The novice handicap chase at Carlisle on Thursday was the most competitive of its type so far this term and each of the 10 runners could be fancied to collect during the course of the season.
For the purposes of this column the one I’ve picked out to win next time is the heavily backed favourite Du Soleil, who could only manage a staying-on third after failing to land a blow on the winner Luckofthedraw.
The six-year-old showed tremendous promise over timber last season despite a tendency to pull hard, and keenness was in evidence again here as Gavin Sheehan got him anchored in mid division.
From that position he couldn’t afford any mistakes but he was poor at three successive obstacles as the race was starting to unfold and it’s very difficult to come from too far back, especially on nearly good ground, at the Cumbrian track.
The way he made up the ground was eye-catching but the effort took its toll and the leaders got away before he stayed on under hands and heels.
Soft ground holds no fears for this strong chase type while a return to a left-handed track may suit, with somewhere like Lingfield looking ideal. Time should prove him well-handicapped on 120; I see him winning over 2m before stepping up in trip.
The mares’ bumper at Carlisle was a competitive race of its type and none was more eye-catching than the Lucy Wadham-trained Regarding Ruth, who attracted support at long odds beforehand.
An OK sort that looked pretty forward in the paddock, she lost all chance when impeded at the start losing at least 10 lengths on the field.
Nevertheless, a circuit later she was seen moving stylishly through the pack to throw down a challenge to the winner Mega Yeats, before the effort proved too much and she faded to finish fourth.
As a daughter of Flemensfirth out of a half-sister to the likes of Fagan and Creevytennant, the four-year-old is one to look out for as she heads over timber in the coming weeks, if the ground turns soft she looks to have enough pace to win over the minimum trip, but further will suit.
The Hollow Ginge
After winning on his hurdling debut last season the five-year-old had a relatively light campaign by trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies’s standards, running a further four times without troubling the judge.
However, excuses could be made for each subsequent defeat and his return to action at Hexham suggests a successful season could be in store.
Such were the conditions in Northumberland that any horse could be excused a poor run, but The Hollow Ginge acquitted himself well despite, in my opinion, not acting particularly well on the unique undulations.
Even in poor conditions, 3m simply isn’t far enough for this stamina-laden five-year-old and he should only be supported in the most testing circumstances.
A current mark of 123 is probably a fair representation of what he has achieved so far, but I don’t think he has been seen to be best effect. For what it’s worth, he doesn’t have an enormous amount of physical scope, he is not a chaser of the future so this season and next he should win races when conditions suit.
Followers of my blog may already be aware of this five-year-old, who I put forward as a staying hurdler to follow this season prior to his curtain-raiser at Carlisle.
While he looks to be well-handicapped, it was hugely surprising to see him heavily supported into 3/1 favouritism from double figure morning prices as conditions did not look in his favour.
The Darsi gelding was never going the pace over a trip short of his best, on ground that was drying all the time, while earlier paddock inspection revealed that, in common with all those from the Greenall yard, the run would bring him on.
Having passed several on the run-in to finish never-nearer fifth, it’s clear the further he goes the better he will be be, and soft ground also looks essential.
Sean Bowen looked like an embarrassed radish on dismounting, so it wouldn’t be surprising if cheekpieces were enlisted at some stage to assist the rider. Don’t be put off, this horse will be winning races when the mud starts to fly.
Trainer Gilian Boanas hasn’t been left with a great deal of ammunition after taking over from Keith Reveley, but this filly has shown enough in a couple of runs in bumpers and also over hurdles to suggest she’s one to put in the locker.
A compact but well made filly by Fair Mix, she was understandably never sighted behind Simply The Betts at Hexham, but hit the line harder than most and will come into her own as the emphasis on stamina increases.
The dam had a similar profile prior to winning over an intermediate trip, but a promising career was cut short by injury shortly after.
It is to be hoped that Sweet Vinetta will get the chance to prove herself at a modest level in the coming years, and if she isn’t forward enough to make her mark this season she should not be forgotten as the new decade looms into view.
Thanks for reading and see you all in a couple of weeks,
Adam’s blog: HERE>>
Adam on Twitter: HERE>>>
Racing to Profit free email list HERE>>> (i’ll be emailing out each article every Monday)