James Boyle’s Horses To Follow – Week Fourteen
A top week was had, mainly thanks to Barnet Fair (14/1 in the morning; 7/1 SP) winning for the HTF list at the fourth attempt, doing so in the ultra-competitive consolation race for the Stewards’ Cup. That came over 6f and being the occasional idiot that I am, I actually didn’t back him as I thought that the trip was too far, but he laughed at me by winning quite cosily in the end, much handier than the short-head distance back to the runner-up would suggest. There may be another handicap in him sometime but we had our day. Remove!
Others who lined up included Boomerang Bob at Chester and he was disappointing, getting backed from 8/1 into 7/2 before flopping. Confessional ran well to finish 3-lengths behind Barnet Fair at Goodwood, whilst Moviesta bounced back to his best in the Group 2 King George at the same meeting when third to Take Cover. He really should have won but didn’t because he hung left across the track under a right-hand drive from Paul Mulrennan and in doing so lost more than the neck + short-head he was beaten by. Painful stuff.
Venus De Milo was the “I got that very wrong” pick of the week for the preview column. She wasn’t disgraced and that was despite not enjoying the track, but 1m 2f is evidently too short and I should have known that.
For the upcoming week, horses with entries include; Confessional, Dominate, Polski Max, Queensberry Rules & Third Dimension.
Horses To Follow – Week Fourteen:
Arantes (1st August) –
There’s absolutely no doubting that Arantes is a tricky horse who will never find winning too easy (sole win from 13 outings came in a Wolverhampton maiden), but Mick Channon’s 3-year-old definitely has the ability to pop up in a handicap off his current mark of 81 and wasn’t given the finest ride I’ve ever seen when taking in one of Goodwood’s middle-distance events last week. There, Craig Williams anchored his mount well off the pace and it proved to be an impossible task to get involved, but he stayed on nicely under the circumstances in a race where things didn’t really pan out to suit and I would expect better in due course. Another cause for optimism is the fact that the quick ground he faced isn’t his ideal surface and getting back onto easier ground at a more conventional track may help to bring out the improvement needed to see him gain a first turf success. His high cruising speed will lead to a win coming his way before long and it wouldn’t completely surprise me if he improved when faced with a sterner test of stamina over 1m 6f or so. Anyway, he’s one to follow.
Fort Bastion (1st August) –
Goodwood’s Betfred Mile is one of the most demanding handicaps around and, as such, there’ll always be some hard luck stories. Plenty of runners in Friday’s event caught the eye having failed to get a run before flashing home and the one that I’ll take forward – mainly because he’s less likely to be over-bet than some of the others – is the Ruth Carr trained Fort Bastion. The 5-year-old son of Lawman finished in sixth place, 1.5-lengths behind winner Red Avenger, and was unlucky not to go a lot closer on his return to the mile trip. I’ve loads of time for James Sullivan, who is an excellent pilot when given the ammunition, but Goodwood is a track that you need experience of, whether you’re a horse or jockey, and he didn’t give his mount the best ride I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to be critical but if Fort Bastion had a regular course jockey on board he wouldn’t have challenged along the rail and would have had a massively increased chance of winning. The way he finished was encouraging whatever way I put it and given his showings in the Bunbury Cup and the International, both over an inadequate 7f, he’s definitely up to winning a nice race at some point when getting the breaks (needs to be held onto) and good or faster ground, ideally.
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