James Boyle’s Horses To Follow – Week Twenty-Seven
Nothing of note happened in week twenty-six! Showboating was one of two runners from the list and he performed admirably to finish second over 7f at Newmarket with a hood added to his cheekpieces/tongue-tie combination for the first time. Sadly, as is often the case with him, he got going far too late and was not best served by sitting towards the rear following his traditional slow break from the stalls. He’s slightly frustrating!!
Secret Witness ran following a five week lay-off (a long break for him!), tackling a Wolverhampton sprint handicap for the first time in a couple of years. In the end, he was nearer last than first but was hampered and the race didn’t pan out to suit as he never had the chance to build any momentum. He’s clearly going through the motions at present and isn’t one to rely on these days, but he’ll eventually find his feet again.
HTF runners with entries this week; Ajman Bridge, Confessional, Dark Castle, Filbert, Golden Chieftain & Showboating. A much busier week is in store if all of those line up, although most are entered in hot races that will be hard to win so whether we’ll be coming out with a winner is another matter altogether. It’s that time of year where everything so hard to call as well, but we live in hope. Here’s to some decent winners.
Horses To Follow – Week Twenty-Seven:
Merry King (1st November) –
Merry King is a frustrating, one-paced galloper with a 1-12 strike-rate over fences, but he’s only a 7-year-old and could be better equipped to win a long distance handicap before the season is out. Making his seasonal debut in the United House Gold Cup at Ascot on Saturday, Jonjo O’Neill’s charge finished third of 15 behind a rejuvenated What A Warrior and I thought that it was an excellent run when you consider that he probably needs further than 3-miles around a track like that, one that regularly favours those with a bit of speed. Some of his efforts from last season were highly creditable, particularly his fifth placed finishes in the Hennessy behind Triolo D’Alene and also in the Welsh Grand National four weeks afterwards. I would assume that he’ll take a similar path this term and although he’s always going to be vulnerable to coming up against something with a bit more in hand, he’ll run his races and could pop up sometime. I’d like to see McCoy on board again at some point (stronger handling a plus) and hopefully he’ll improve for Saturday’s outing as hoped.
Shamaheart (3rd November) –
I’d be a liar if I said that Shamaheart was an overly well-treated performer but he caught my eye in the Secret Witness race at Wolverhampton and remains completely unexposed on the artificial surfaces. Having been dropped to 6f for the first time since he was running in maidens as a juvenile, Geoff Harker’s 4-year-old was always likely to have his speed tested to the maximum and, from a wide draw, he ended up missing the kick completely. That made a hard task impossible but he shaped well nonetheless, making up the ground he lost before running on into a never-nearer sixth place, 6-lengths behind the winner but only three behind the front-running second. On this evidence, he’s worthy of keeping an eye on and the handicapper might drop him the pound required to see him get into a 0-70 with top-weight. It might suit more than tackling inferior rivals off a lesser weight and the option to go back up to 7f is one that I suspect his connections will take. Anyway, there’s definitely something to work with if he’s kept on the go (has had a busy season) and I’ll be monitoring.
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