The racing broadcaster provides the latest update to his horse tracker, along with his thoughts on some of the runners at Taunton last week.
We had two runners this week in Libor Lad (2nd at 4/1) and Bucephalus (3rd at 3/1) who both ran respectably but not well enough to retain.
Libor Lad had already won for us and was possibly a bit unlucky to bump into a gambled-on winner in this grade, but he also didn’t travel with the same fluency and, despite briefly looking like the winner two out, was held on the run in.
Bucephalus’ keenness continues to be his undoing and he ran a very similar race as when he was added at Kempton. He made headway travelling well on the home turn, but the early exertions took their toll and he had no more to give from the last. He can win off this mark but must drop his head in the early stages.
The weather and a few days away meant Taunton was my only actual port of call this week and in many ways it was a typical West Country jumping meeting, with the novice races being more interesting than the handicaps. Two horses are added, both from the same race – IN THE PARK and SHAKEYATAILFEATHER – who were third and fourth in the race won by Joyeuse.
Both the winner and the second Tutti Quanti were expensive French imports and it clearly looked the stronger of the two divisions. In the Park had come down on the turn at Aintree on his hurdling debut when still well in touch and more than confirmed that promise here making progress form the rear and beaten less than three lengths at the line. This looked solid form and a reproduction of it should see him go close in a novice hurdle.
Shakeyatailfeather was a massive price and was having her third trainer in as many runs, having joined Dan Skelton for her hurdling debut. She made good progress out of the ruck and while I’m sometimes wary of a big-priced horse improving out of the blue, the fact she had placed in a maiden point and, more importantly, is a mare means a novice against her own sex will almost certainly be significantly weaker than this.
Wherever possible, I will be using the weekly update to pass on any more random thoughts from the meetings I call, so here are a few from Taunton.
In the opener, Golden Ace became the eighth next time out winner from the Aintree bumper won by Dysart Enos. Solid form indeed.
Division 2 of the Joyeuse novice looked weaker, with The Gypsy Davey getting a positive ride to try and accentuate stamina having won a point to point.
In the handicaps, Vicki Vale may have hit the front too soon and, although she is frustrating, a mares handicap would suit better.
Shantou Flyer and Benny’s King went too hard in the Hunters Chase, setting it up for the well-backed winner Regatta De Blanc. The fact she did not stamp her authority on the run in was a shade disappointing. Benny’s King did really well to hold on for third given the pace he set, and is likely to have the Foxhunters at Aintree as his objective after finishing 2nd last year.
Sawpit Sienna won the finale for the second year running having also been second the year before, and is one to bury away for another go in this race in 12 months time. Selkirk Grace ran an odd race and it would be no surprise to see him in headgear next time.
Released: Libor Lad, Bucephalus
Added: In The Park, Shakeyatailfeather