To the ‘Little Black Book’, another superb read from Adam Norman….
(you can find all previous articles HERE>>>)
Let’s crack on… over to Adam…
Roycano (Haydock Jan 19)
It’s very dangerous to assume a horse that has been off for two years will retain his full ability but it looks as though Mick Easterby’s nine-year-old is not far away and he could be ready to strike.
The nine-year-old has hardly run a bad race since winning four Points and finishing second in four more, landing a gamble under rules three years ago before looking poised to win off 115 next time when stumbling after jumping two out.
An injury then followed, but he returned with one promising effort last winter when looking in need of the run, and made his first start this season in the race that saw Silva Eclipse chinned on the line.
He looked really well in the paddock, quite close to peak fitness, but was too keen in a race that was run at just a steady tempo.
A stamina test on soft ground will suit the son of Lucarno, and hopefully we will see him out again soon bearing in mind those fragilities. He looks well handicapped.
Well-backed to pick up a race back over 2m at Haydock, but once again found a couple too good. He looks paceless and tripless and it’s time to cut our ties.
Sue Smith has had eight winners in January at a strike rate of nearly 50% at the time of writing, and it would have been even better if this one hadn’t been caught on the line at Haydock. There’s nothing ungenuine about him despite finishing second four times over timber, and is worth another chance with softer ground likely to suit.
Clearly talented but looked as tricky as ever at Sedgefield on Sunday and is one to treat with extreme caution, he looks virtually unrideable unless having an inside rail to run against throughout a race.
Le Breuil (Haydock Jan 19)
Trainer Ben Pauling has held his novice chaser in the highest regard since day one and he looks a horse poised to land a big pot in the coming weeks granted the right conditions.
The big, athletic chestnut has twice run well at Cheltenham since switching disciplines and was beaten just under eight lengths by RSA Chase favourite Santini at Newbury in December.
He headed to Lancashire with decent prospects of landing a Grade 2 race but found himself woefully outpaced at the wrong time, before rallying late on and hitting the line hard.
The run told us that he now requires a step up to 3m, regardless of ground conditions even though he seems to show his very best with plenty of juice in the ground.
Granted more of a stamina test I’m convinced he will look well handicapped from a mark of 145, as he looks to have a touch of class.
His sire Anzillero is little known outside France however his best known son Valseur Lido won two Grade Ones at 3m in his prime and I’m sure we’ve yet to see the best of Le Breuil.
Robinsfirth (Haydock Jan 19)
There is hardly anything bad to say about this rangy son of Flemensfirth, who returned from an absence of over a year to go down fighting in the Peter Marsh Chase.
His consistency means the handicapper has him about right, indeed he must race from a career high mark of 148 next time, however he is unexposed over extreme distances and such races look sure to suit.
The Ultima at Cheltenham is a legitimate target but there are sure to be better handicapped ones in that race, which is unlikely to see this horse to best effect in any case.
Very lightly-raced for a 10-year-old, events like the Grand National Trial at Haydock plus the Midlands and Scottish Nationals should all be on trainer Colin Tizzard’s radar, and like so many of these horses some rain wouldn’t go amiss.
Garrettstown (Market Rasen Jan 17)
Young handler Olly Murphy has a good horse on his hands in this big son of Doyen, who looks a decent long term prospect when his attentions are switched to fences.
In a virtual match at the Lincolnshire track, the six-year-old novice hurdler only had Deyrann De Carjac to beat but Alan King’s horse has some well-established formlines and would prove a formidable rival.
Indeed, the more experienced horse kept Garrettstown honest all the way up the straight, the winner having every opportunity to shirk the battle but stuck strongly to his task to claim the win.
A mark of 124 looks about right for the time being, but he looked very novicey at his obstacles and I suspect whatever he achieves over timber will be in spite of the jumps, not because of them.
Presumably he will go straight over fences in the autumn and there’s every chance he could take high rank in that sphere.
Stylish Moment (Doncaster Jan 25)
On the face of it, the son of Milan has been thoroughly disappointing in a six-start career over obstacles, and his chase debut was no different on Town Moor last week.
Better was clearly expected as his odds halved in price ahead of what looked a weak race, but paddock inspection revealed him to still be unfurnished and on the weak side physically, and mentally there were signs of immaturity.
A novicey round of jumping meant he was well beaten in the end and it wouldn’t be surprising if Alan King writes the season off and preserves his novice status for another season.
Whether he does or not, this is just the type of horse that could improve chunks for a summer in the field and when he returns next autumn connections could well have a nicely handicapped horse on their hands.
Costing £42k as a store, his bumper runs weren’t without promise and he surely has more ability than he has shown so far.
Thanks for reading and see you all in a couple of weeks,
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