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…
Costante Via (Southwell Mar 4)
A mare with plenty of size and scope, she really should have won by now but circumstances conspired against her here and she should be making amends before the end of the season.
Embued with reserves of stamina, the leisurely pace wouldn’t have suited on the drying ground and it was disappointing that young jockey Jordan Nailor didn’t take the race by the throat when he had the chance.
When they finally got going she was outpaced on the home bend, only to rally in the straight going down by under two lengths to outsider Sundance Boy, who had got first run.
Soft ground would really help the daughter of Milan and although going up another 2lb for this, the winner has gone in again at the same venue so there’s a bit of substance to the form.
Toi Storey (#6)
Connections waited for the return of racing at Hexham on the Thursday of Cheltenham and this likeable horse got off the mark in style. Jumping notably well, he can win again this season once sent into handicaps, where he will relish an even longer trip.
Iain Jardine’s wayward handicapper needs a rail to guide him and he finally got that when sent over fences at Sedgefield last week, looking transformed as he cruised to victory. Was clearly way ahead of his mark and he’s a horse with loads of ability if it can be channelled the right way.
Boomarang (Doncaster Mar 2)
This son of Passing Glance has been kept to a sound surface in four career starts and ought to find a suitable race this spring.
A lovely chasing prospect, he looks very immature mentally and was showboating in the paddock prior to a half-decent novices hurdle at Town Moor.
Taking a strong hold, he didn’t really know what to do when let down and the race was over by the time he began to run on after the last.
The winner of a summer bumper last year, he’s already proved himself a 120-type horse over hurdles but he should rate much higher in due course, hopefully after returning to the winners’ enclosure before long.
Saint Leo (#6)
Looked to be travelling nicely with the race about to unfold when taking a soft fall at Ayr recently, and while it was too far out to know what would have happened, he went through the race like a well-handicapped horse. Keep the faith.
Le Breuil (#8)
Has done his job for the column by landing the four-miler at the Festival, showing stamina and guts in abundance. This sound jumper will hopefully be rested now before being trained for the 2020 Grand National.
Valence D’Aumont (Catterick Mar 6)
Sue and Harvey Smith picked up this son of Sinndar in a private sale but it won’t be until next season when they’ll see a meaningful return on their investment.
Although just a five-year-old, he’s a winner over hurdles and fences in France and has arrived on these shores with a rating beyond his powers based on a couple of starts so far.
His latest effort was a step in the right direction as he tried to go with the well-handicapped Iwilldoit, but a combination of that effort, the taxing 3m+ in soft ground, and a rating of 118 meant he was well beaten in the end.
Dropped a solitary 1lb for his pains (I’d like to have listened in on THAT phone call) he’ll require at least another couple of runs to get his mark where it should be.
Having won over fences last July, he may not be easy to place, yet the Smiths are second to none in that regard and he looks the type to flourish in due course.
Spiritofthegames (Cheltenham Mar 14)
A model of consistency, this son of Darsi has taken his form to another level over fences this season but is the type to go under the radar if aimed at next season’s big handicaps.
Placed in the Lanzarote, Betfair and County hurdles, he went down by only three lengths to the bold jumping Siruh Du Lac in the Brown Advisory Plate and can improve on this effort.
Considering he won on his career debut over 2m4f it’s surprising he has yet to run over much further, yet his racing style suggests he could really come into his own at 3m.
Connections may be thinking about the big Cheltenham handicaps in the autumn from a perch of 150, but a decent pot could fall his way if he’s kept on the go in the coming weeks.
Mister Whitaker (#2)
One of the earliest entrants in this column but has fallen some way short of expectations and in conversation with Brian Hughes the jockey feels the horse is nothing better than a handicapper. He didn’t give him any sort of feel in the Ultima, and while he may not be Graded class there should be races to be won with him next season over 3m+.
Arthur’s Gift (#2)
The dry winter has meant this staying chaser has had a truncated campaign, and the Midlands National proved to come too soon in his career over the larger obstacles. That’s probably stymied any hope of contending in the Scottish version, and it could now be next season before we see him landing a nice pot.
Thanks for reading and see you all in a couple of weeks,
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