Feature Post: The Little Black Book #9

Adam Norman’s notebook horses to follow, #9

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…


Short term

Arthur Mac (Newcastle Jan 29)

For the third time this season I was taken by the presence of this horse, who is improving at some rate and now looks ready for a tilt at a decent soft ground handicap this spring.

Novicey jumping proved his undoing on debut at Hexham but after switching to the yard of H Oliver that side of his game has started to become more accomplished and it therefore comes as no surprise that results have followed.

The son of Getaway landed a gamble for connections at Catterick on his previous outing, despite a bad mistake two out, but his jumping was much better on the whole as he chased home useful prospect Nestor Park.

The way he stayed on after the last was most encouraging and to go down by under four lengths to such a promising horse off level weights was a commendable effort, with a couple of decent yardsticks behind.

Connections my rue not taking advantage of a mark 121 prior to this, as a rise of 11lb may seem harsh. However, such is the trajectory of his improvement, and his physical appeal, the handicapper may yet be forced to revise his opinion again sooner, rather than later.

Ace Ventura (Market Rasen Feb 5)

It didn’t look a great juvenile hurdle on paper – how many do – but the eventual winner Praeceps looks a decent sort with form already in the book this fellow Flat exile looks one to follow for the foreseeable future.

Blessed with plenty of size and scope, the Mayson gelding didn’t have much chance to prove his worth on the level with just five starts for R Varian, failing to build on a heavy ground maiden win as a juvenile.

However, he looks the sort to come into his own in time and despite being overlooked in the market he stood out as one to keep an eye on beforehand, and showed more than enough to connections who shelled out £37k for him in October.

A laid back type, he will probably improve for the outing fitness-wise while he stayed on well enough to prove his stamina for the winter game despite being speedily bred.

Trainer O Greenall had a quiet start to the season but has had a few winners since the turn of the year and it will be surprising if this one can’t add to the tally in the coming weeks.


Mid term

Clarendon Street ( Market Rasen Feb 5)

The EBF NH novices hurdle run at the Lincolnshire track – essentially one of many qualifiers for the final at Sandown next month – will be one worth following in the months to come.

Four previous winners were to the fore of the market in a nine-runner field, however they were each ridden with heavy restraint behind a modest pace set by eventual winner Boldmere.

While nothing should be taken away from the quietly-fancied victor, I’d be quite happy to back at least three of the other four against him next time such was track position against them throughout the 2m4f contest.

N Henderson’s six-year-old looks the real deal physically, the type to make into a high class staying chaser in due course, but this run should be ignored in terms of his current ability and can be filed in the ‘educational’ tray.

That’s little consolation to those who backed him into 11/10 favouritism, but that cash should only be lent and he will deserve to line up at Sandown amongst the market leaders based on his two promising earlier efforts.

Regarding his longer term prospects, sire Court Cave is a rising star (in my eyes at least) as a National Hunt stallion stamping his offspring with loads of stamina if not great looks, while the dam was a useful four-time winner over fences in Ireland, so everything is in place for Clarendon Street to become a leading light at Seven Barrows.

Megalodon (Market Rasen Feb 5)

I was quite taken by the physical presence of this Getaway gelding ahead of a competitive-looking handicap hurdle and there are several reasons why he can prove this seemingly disappointing effort all wrong.

Market vibes suggested there would be another day for the six-year-old and so it proved, as he was held up way of a pace that was forced by those that were to be involved in the finish.

A nice big, rangy animal, the quick nature of the track would not have suited either and his pedigree screams stamina; he did after all start favourite in two of his three Irish points.

Allowed to come home in his own time, he should see a few pounds taken off a rating that was quite high largely due to him chasing home the useful Emitom on his previous start.

He had previously shown bits and pieces of form in those decent large-field novice hurdles at Newbury and, while no world beater, he looks more than likely to be competitive from a slightly lower mark, especially when the emphasis is more on stamina.


Long term

Just Call Me Al (Newcastle Jan 29)

Twice I’ve seen this horse now and on both occasions he went down as one to keep an eye on for the long term, being above-average on looks for his small stable.

Connections are still in the process of teaching the six-year-old how to race, held up miles off the pace this time in what was a pretty hot novice hurdle for the track, having foregone all chance in his third and final bumper run by pulling far too hard on the front end.

A second heavy defeat in succession doesn’t read well on his CV, but all should not be lost with this son of Presenting who made an eye-catching mid-race move before the effort petered out on the soft ground.

It will be disappointing if he can’t eventually build on the promise of his first two bumper runs, and if the penny is slow to drop we could be looking at a well-handicapped horse come the start of next season.


Point Break (#7)

Went close to beating a highly rated horse in Rouge Vif (Just Call Me Al behind) and his mark has suffered as a result, given an opening rating of 119. However, he’s the type to grow into that sort of figure and sure to progress further next season, and when sent over fences.

Garrettstown (#8)

Finished in front of Clarendon Street at Market Rasen under a similarly unfavourable hold-up ride, but will have learned plenty from his jockey’s attempts to restrain him and remains the type to hold his own for the rest of the campaign. However, very much a novice chaser for next season


Thanks for reading and see you all in a couple of weeks,

Adam’s blog: HERE>>

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8 Responses

  1. As usual a very good read Adam
    Especially agree with comments on ace Ventura
    And megalodon who was already in my tracker.
    Many thanks mate.

  2. As usual a very good read Adam
    Especially agree with comments on ace Ventura
    And megalodon who was already in my tracker.
    Many thanks mate.

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