James Boyle’s Horses To Follow – Week Thirty-Two
All is quiet on the Horses To Follow front at the moment and the sole runner from the list in the past week was Philip Hobbs’ 8-year-old chaser Filbert. I quite fancied him to run a big race back at Exeter, the course where he won his novice hurdle nearly four years ago, and to be fair to him he ran a cracker to finish third behind Colin Tizzard’s Ultragold. The form is solid and there’s every reason to suggest he’ll win soon.
The issue is, of course, his poor jumping. He didn’t fence well at all despite having Richard Johnson back on board and managed to hit almost every fence in the home straight, some worse than others. That was after travelling into the contest nicely and there’s no doubt in my mind that he has the ability to win another similar event when putting it all together. Hopefully that’ll be before long, as he’s clearly on good terms with himself.
HTF representatives with entries this week; Astracad, Barrakilla, Drop Out Joe, Liberty One & Showboating.
Horses To Follow – Week Thirty-Two:
Bennys Mist (December 6th) –
Form over the National fences doesn’t always replicate itself elsewhere but Bennys Mist could have a nice race in him sometime and certainly wasn’t disgraced in the Grand Sefton at Aintree on Saturday. Venetia Williams’ charge finished third behind Poole Master having been up in the van throughout and firmly put a poor effort at Wincanton behind him, proving that his well-being is much better than that run suggested (made a bad error which knocked him back). Last season he was second in the Topham behind Ma Filleule so it is entirely possible that Aintree – and those unique fences – bring out the best in him, so we may be waiting a while to see him come alive again, but I think that there’ll be many opportunities for him to strut his stuff before long in handicaps on flat galloping tracks and hopefully one of them could lead to a win. Although not obviously thrown-in, I think he has more to offer.
Clockmaker (December 8th) –
There’s no doubting that Conor Dore’s Clockmaker is getting a bit long in the tooth, nor is he as talented as he once was, but the 8-year-old remains capable of posting sound form figures and with his All-Weather rating down to 77, he should prove up to landing something before the winter is over. I thought that he ran a promising race at Kempton yesterday, finishing seventh of the 12 runners and beaten less than 3-lengths, that despite running over a sprint trip of 6f. He has never been quick enough to be a sprinter, even at such a modest level compared to what he is used to lining up in, and the overall impression he gave off is that he lacking for speed late on. After making the running for some time, he was a sitting duck in the home straight and was headed a fair way out, yet stuck to the task gamely and wasn’t far off the winner at the line. That, to me, suggests he’s in good order after a spell in the doldrums and I’m going to keep him on side for a few runs. He needs to go back up to 7f to show his worth and when that happens, hopefully he’s a worthwhile price.
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