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…
Hatcher (Southwell April 9)
Dan Skelton’s six year old didn’t have much to beat on just his second start over fences but the manner of the victory suggests he could be something a little better than average.
A winner of four novice hurdles (all at Stratford) last summer, the free-going son of Doyen has looked a natural over the larger obstacles and looks poised to make hay in the coming weeks and months.
Previously very headstrong under restraining tactics, a more positive ride now seems to suit and he is more amenable to restraint when allowed his own way.
Style De Garde looked a worthy foe in this four runner race but Hatcher’s superior fencing soon allowed him to apply pressure to the opposition without having to come out of second gear.
Raised 5lb for this facile win, Hatcher looks well-handicapped off 140 and there look to be several ideal opportunities to capitalise on that mark in the coming weeks.
Oliver’s Gold (#12)
Tim Walford’s veteran bumped into the progressive Las Tunas once again since being mentioned here but his mark remains the same and he looks in good order ahead of what could be a fruitful Indian summer.
Oscar Nomination (Southwell April 9)
This one is capable of completing a hat-trick after coming home best of all to land another small race for trainer Gary Hanmer, who may have a seriously well handicapped horse on his hands.
The sizeable son of Getaway showed useful form in Irish points, finishing second on four occasions, and after a couple of handicapping runs landed a fair gamble when winning at Market Rasen in March.
Well supported again, he was momentarily outpaced at Southwell before powering home under the improved Harrison Beswick and another step up in trip is expected to see the seven-year-old in even better light.
The form isn’t much, but his physique, jumping prowess and breeding suggest a decent career in staying chases lies in wait, but with good ground clearly suiting he’s expected to go in again this spring despite an 8lb hike in the weights.
Magellan (Wetherby April 11)
Darren Yates spent plenty of cash trying to secure a Grand National winner but only had to go to £58k to land this strapping son of Sea The Stars last October, and his patience looks sure to be rewarded.
A triple winner on the level with Roger Charlton at around 12f, the five year old was having his third qualifying run for a mark and first after a wind op when showing distinct signs of promise in a novice hurdle won by the reliable Fransham.
Despite going keenly in the first half of the race, Magellan came home well to claim fourth place and has been allotted an opening perch of 112, which compares favourably with the form he showed on the flat.
With trainer Phil Kirby adept at placing his horses, we can expect this scopey sort to improve markedly on what he has achieved thus far over timber given the right opportunity.
Paul Henderson’s six-year-old has shown much more in two handicaps since being mentioned here as one to look out for when dropped in the weights, and now looks poised to strike. He is 7lb below his original mark and a return to an intermediate trip looks sure to suit.
Sojourn (Warwick April 10)
Weak in the market, this good looking son of Getaway was unable to build on a promising first start over hurdles the previous month when fading into third behind the consistent Bubbles Of Gold.
Sojourn first caught the eye when beating Misty Whisky in an Aintree bumper in November, a mare that went on to land two races including a Listed contest at Sandown.
The six-year-old showed a good attitude off the bridle on that occasion so his tame finish at Warwick suggests something may have been slightly amiss, despite looking big and well beforehand.
Bred to stay really well being out of an Oscar mare, I’m happy to give Anthony Honeyball’s youngster the benefit of the doubt at this stage with the bonus being that he will remain a novice over hurdles next season, while an opening mark of 117 could prove to be very lenient in time.
Black Ebony (Hexham April 15)
Ruth Jefferson has endured a quiet year so far but she has several nice youngsters coming through the ranks and this five-year-old could be a useful prospect despite finding one too good in a decent looking bumper.
From a family the trainer knows very well being out of the mare responsible for Attaglance and Hi George amongst others, the son of Malinas went well for a long way before Irish raider Shanroe found extra once they levelled for home.
The difference in fitness between the pair was quite marked in the paddock beforehand, with the Jefferson inmate looking to have plenty to work on following a near nine-week absence.
While building on his Kelso debut, the feeling is that a bumper should be well within his compass if they decide to go again this spring, however he can leave this bare form well behind once sent over obstacles.
Just Call Me Al (#9)
The small yard of Gillian Boanas has had six winners since the start of December and this son of Presenting may have added to that number had he not unshipped his young rider when challenging at Southwell (race won by Oscar Nomination). Importantly, he settled well at this longer trip and could pick up a similar contest if kept on the go, although he’ll remain with loads of potential next season regardless.
Thanks for reading and see you all in a couple of weeks,
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