James Boyle’s Horses To Follow – Week Twenty
The HTF list was back in winning action over the past week, Stomachion (15/2) being the big winner over at Doncaster. He was having his first run since selected a few weeks ago and ran out an impressive victor on what was his first start over a trip beyond a mile and a half. It clearly helped as, despite lining up in another slowly run event, he powered home and seemed to stay exceptionally well. A drop in trip will do no harm and the November handicap could be on the agenda, but I’ve had my fun so he’ll be coming off the list quickly. I don’t think there’s much point in persisting with winners in the longer term, so removing them is for the best!
Mount Logan (7/2 in the morning; SP of 7/4!) is another to take off the list as he served his purpose at the same venue by winning a good quality handicap in fine fashion under Andrea Atzeni. That was only his second try over a mile and a half and it seems to have really brought out the best in him, so it’s hard to rule out further improvement. He’s only a 3-year-old as well but life is going to get tougher after the handicapper gets involved, hence my reluctance to take him forward. He’ll have to be a genuine Group-class performer to defy the rise he’s likely to get (6-7lbs) if kept in handicaps and probably isn’t one just yet. Maybe in time…
Sadly, there were some losers too! Burano got beaten again, as is his usual. It’s time for me to give up on him so he’s removed as well. Dark Castle and Secret Witness both ran in the same 6f sprint at Doncaster and neither were disgraced, despite not being up to it. I thought that they shaped fine and can be persisted with, whilst the same can be said of the 96-rated Magic Hurricane who was biting off more than he could chew against classier rivals in a good conditions race. Mezzotint didn’t run up to scratch at Chester despite being a likely contender if repeating his previous C&D form. He’s an odd horse but could pop up again in a handicap before the season’s out, maybe on polytrack (has previous on it).
HTF representatives with entries this week; Arantes, Confessional, Magic Hurricane, Mezzotint, Monsieur Chevalier, Polski Max & Redvers.
Horses To Follow – Week Twenty:
Chilworth Icon (13th September) –
There wasn’t a hope in hell of anyone ousting Muthmir in the Portland h’cap at Doncaster on Saturday, but some of those in behind ran cracking races and one that I’m going to take forward is the fifth-placed animal, Chilworth Icon. He’s a typical Mick Channon horse; heavily raced and rarely ever too well handicapped due to being overly consistent, but he was a 103-rated juvenile and having re-found the winning touch at Sandown on his penultimate start (off 87; quite impressively), might be able to pop up again. His effort on Saturday would appear to be a cracking piece of form whatever way we look at it and he was definitely unfortunate not to do better, meeting trouble in-running on a couple of occasions when trying to pick up from a sit towards the rear. Of course, he wouldn’t have troubled the winner, but might have got into the fight for third and that may be a bit overlooked next time out. As an added benefit, he clearly handles a softer surface and is effective over both 5f & 6f on any sort of track, so connections will have plenty of options over the next six or seven weeks.
Lahaag (12th September) –
It’s safe to say that Lahaag is going to look like an odd inclusion in the HTF list as he ran a nothing race at Doncaster last Friday… and that’s putting it kindly. However, he was lining up over an extended 1m 6f trip on that occasion and although I fancied him myself (and indeed put some money down!), it was patently obvious that he couldn’t show his best form over the distance. Even ignoring the whole not staying thing (!), he raced too keenly throughout and didn’t get any sort of proper gallop to help him settle down, so those two aspects were against him from the word go and helped to hinder him completely. The main promise came from two of his previous three runs, both over 1m 4f, with the most recent being the one to recommend him on. In a good handicap at York, he finished seventh of 16, beaten little more than 3-lengths, and shaped as if he was coming back to something like his best (was only a half-length behind Stomachion, helping to show that the Doncaster form isn’t a true reflection of his abilities). If that can be built upon, he’s certainly handicapped to win something soon and there may be a suitable race at York next month; the race in which he gained his last success eleven months ago. Given his rating, it looks the logical target.
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