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…
Ard Chros (Hexham March 26)
This seven-year-old gelding made an eye-catching debut for Stuart Coltherd in a competitive race for the track and should pay his way if kept on the go in the coming months.
Bought for £32k at the Doncaster Sales last May, the strong chasing type has taken time to the return to the track after landing the second of two soft ground Irish Points.
Despite going off at 33/1 he was given a positive ride in the near-3m contest, only giving best to the well-backed favourite between the last two flights.
Looked in need of the run beforehand, he understandably tired on the run-in and was re-passed for second placed, however an RPR of 120 confirms this was an outing of significant promise.
A run of the mill novice should fall his way this spring, and connections surely won’t mind him losing his novice status over timber as fences are where his future lies later this year.
Oliver’s Gold (Wetherby March 29)
It’s not often that exposed 11 year olds find their way into the notebook but Mark Walford’s veteran looks ready to win again following a largely fruitless campaign.
He’s clearly not as good as he was, yet the handicapper has reacted accordingly and he now sits 16ln below the mark from which he was successful in May last year.
There have been signs of a revival from his lowly rating recently and simply bumped into a horse her in Las Tunas who is enjoying a purple patch.
A sound jumper of fences, the unique test that Cartmel presents appears to suit this horse admirably and another visit to the home of Sticky Toffee Pudding ought to earn sweet rewards.
Crest (Wetherby March 29)
Micky Hammond’s chaser is another that appears to thrive at this time of year and he looks more than capable of winning again for connections in the coming weeks.
The strapping Gigginstown cast-off was given plenty to do in this 2m5f contest and simply ran out of real estate at the North Yorkshire track after giving ground to the wildly progressive Flowery.
The son of Kayf Tara was given a much more positive ride when landing a novices handicap at Kelso last May, and a return to similar tactics are sure to see him in better light.
A 4lb rise for his latest effort seems fair enough and he operated fairly consistently from a higher mark in Ireland, so hopes are high that his stamina will be put to good use next time.
Back On The Lash (Market Rasen March 27)
Possibly a longer term prospect but one to bear in mind back in novice company this spring after not being seen to best effect when fourth to the consistent Ballyhome.
Up a mile in trip after scrambling home at Ludlow in his previous race, the jockey was clearly under orders to preserve his stamina, however the back is not the place to be on good ground at the Lincolnshire venue, especially off a steady pace.
Johnson was in no man’s land as the pace quickened into the straight leaving his inexperienced partner with too much to do.
The way he stayed on to the line suggests 3m won’t be a problem in time, although a return to an intermediate trip will surely suffice in the near term.
Notably weak in the market, the medium-sized five-year-old was quite edgy in the prelims and looks sure to progress further as he gains experience.
Pieceoftheaction (Hexham March 26)
This lengthy, fair looking son of Oscar should be given another chance to prove his previous form behind a decent prospect in Toi Storey was no fluke.
Just 12 days on from that improved effort in soft ground, Chris Grant’s six-year-old appeared to find this coming too soon and he ran no sort of race.
A four-time winner between the flags as a five-year-old, he may well be suited to much softer ground than was the case on this day in any case.
Related to several winners, he looks more than capable of proving his current mark of 110 well within his compass, particularly when he takes on regulation fences, presumably next winter.
Elixir De Gouet (#6)
Noted as one likely to need plenty of time to acclimatise after his move from France, Venetia Williams’ chaser has now run three times in the UK and has been dropped another 4lb to 126. There’s little doubt in my mind that we’ll see a different horse come November/December.
Valence D’Aumont (#11)
Quickly sent over fences at Uttoxeter after two spins in handicap hurdles, the French import was once again beaten a distance proving the handicapper to have over-estimated the value of his Gallic endeavours. Nonetheless, this is one worth keeping an eye on and he has now been dropped 5lb, which is a start.
Thanks for reading and see you all in a couple of weeks,
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