James Boyle’s Horses To Follow – Week Twenty-Five
The end of the flat season and the beginning of the all-weather/jumps is a testing time for many punters, myself included, and the HTF list is showing just why! There hasn’t been many runners lately and anything that has turned up has also managed to get beaten. Confessional was best of those who ran in the past week, finishing second in the Catterick Dash on Saturday. It was an excellent effort under a more forceful ride than usual and he simply bumped into a lively one (finished 4-lengths clear of the third).
Jamaican Bolt, my cliff horse of 2014, ran another cracking race to finish third having been upped to 6f at Haydock. I thought he was unlucky not to have won as he only lost by three-parts of a length despite failing to get the best of runs through when trying to build momentum a couple of furlongs from home, and the last thing you want in a sprint is to get blocked off in any way. Frustrating, but he could gain compensation soon.
Two others also lined up, Showboating and Fort Bastion. The first mentioned was strong in the market when contesting the Catterick handicap he won last year and ran a good race to finish fifth having been left with far too much to do. I’m persisting with him for now, but not with the latter, who ran terribly and looks cooked.
HTF representatives with some entries this week: Ajman Bridge, Astracad, Confessional, Jamaican Bolt, Novirak, Reedcutter & Secret Witness. Hoping for an overdue winner or two!
Horses To Follow – Week Twenty-Five:
Astracad (18th October) –
I’m a sucker for cliff horses and Astracad is definitely one of mine, and has been for quite some time. The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained 8-year-old hasn’t won for well over two years at this stage and the fact that he generally competes in competitive, hot handicaps doesn’t help matters. His overall consistency is his downfall but he’s rated in the 130’s for the first time in a long time and I’m hopeful that he’ll have his day in the sun before long. He lined up in a good 2m 4f handicap at Cheltenham on Saturday and ran really well to finish fourth, around 9-lengths behind the talented John’s Spirit. I think the form looks solid for an early season event and Astracad shaped as if he could be coming to the boil nicely, travelling soundly throughout before ultimately proving one-paced (could come on again for it). There will be plenty of suitable targets coming up in the next couple of months and connections may even get the opportunity to ease the grade he competes in, something that could be a help. I would be particularly interested to see him back at Aintree (entered on Saturday).
Golden Chieftain (18th October) –
Very little has gone right for Golden Chieftain in recent times but Colin Tizzard’s 9-year-old is another who could pop up at a decent price before the season is out and I’m going to keep him on side for a while. The son of Tikkanen was hilariously impressive when winning the JLT handicap at the Cheltenham festival in 2013, bolting up by 10-lengths in what was a 24-runner affair, and sadly for his connections he wasn’t seen afterwards for eleven months. His form in three runs over fences last term wasn’t great, bar one decent effort at Aintree, but I thought he shaped really well with the way that he moved through much of his seasonal return at Cheltenham in a 3m 1f handicap. In the end, he was beaten 16-lengths into sixth place but it doesn’t tell the whole story and he’s likely to come on for the run as well. I think he’ll win a decent 3-mile handicap when the rain’s about, hopefully soon.
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