The horse racing broadcaster breathes fresh life into his stable of tracked horses, with three new additions and four released.
You can follow all of Richard’s tracked horses with the Racing TV tracker.
A disappointing week for the tracker, though Springwell Bay (2nd, 4/1) nearly salvaged things when going down narrowly at Musselburgh. This was a Pertemps qualifier but I would much prefer to see him in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham as I am not certain he really sees out 3m strongly. He wasn’t helped by pulling hard early here, and looked the winner at the last but wasn’t able to overhaul the 16-1 winner.
The biggest disappointment was Ed Keeper (0, 4/1) who, like many, failed to get up the Sandown hill. While he, like Springwell Bay, is released, they both remain interesting horses for the future with Ed Keeper in particular looking a name to remember for novice chases next season.
I hadn’t expected to see Petit Tonnerre (0, 3/1) until Cheltenham but the money coming for him here suggested more intent. Again, his jumping was not fluent and he didn’t see the trip out well enough. A Grand Annual could still suit but he is also let go as that race is going to be very competitive.
Taxiing (0, 10/1) turned up at a track, Lingfield, which was never likely to suit his style and after being weak in the market, and so it proved. If he does get dropped for this there will be other races that suit him better, but he has done the job for us when winning last start, so he completes the clear out.
Finally, Dazy Mazy (0, 7/2) was well beaten but got a rather puzzling ride, having settled towards the back but then been asked to make ground wide round the turn. I would forgive this but she hung left up the straight and, given her lightly raced profile, may prove better than this bare form if she comes out of the race well. She is given another chance at likely better odds.
I am doing some sectional time work at Wolverhampton as part of a wider project, and will add in SISTERS IN THE SKY from a race at the end of January where they clearly looked to have gone too hard. She did well to last so long that day in a race heavily stacked in favour of the closers, and the stable ended a quiet spell with a winner at Market Rasen yesterday.
My notes from the track this week start at Wincanton last Thursday, where the feature was a Harry Cobden treble eating significantly into the advantage Sean Bowen established before he was injured. On the horse front, Saunton Surf was noted making good late headway in the 2m 5f Mares Novice. She has been given a mark of 106 and a step up to 3m will likely coincide with her going handicapping now.
ZHANG FEI is added after running too free and fading in the 2m novice hurdle won by Fire Flyer. He moved to the front travelling really well but could not last home and eventually was a well beaten fourth. He stayed 1m 4f on the Flat and, if he can harness the enthusiasm more effectively, could well find a race on a sharp track on decent ground.
Also added is I’VE MADEUPMYMIND who came off second best in what looked an above average Mares bumper to another smart prospect in Jubilee Alpha (the last leg of the Cobden treble). She really travelled well and was the first of the two to commit, probably a bit prematurely in hindsight. She will be clearly be good enough for a similar event if connections can resist a rise in class.
Sandown on Saturday saw a very impressive performance from Jingko Blue, who was noticeably strong at the finish at a track whose hurdles track can sap the energy of the best of them. An eye-watering rise of 14 to 138 prevents him being added, but he looks a nice prospect.
Harper’s Brook finally found a way to win a race after a chapter of accidents and loose horse intervention, and it was doubly sad that the terrific story of Nickle Back’s win for Sarah Humphrey and James Best was tarnished by the fatal fall of Hermes Allen two out. Sandown really suited Nickle Back, whose connections have decided to bypass Cheltenham and go to Aintree for the Manifesto, but I would like to see him back here on the closing day in the notoriously uncompetitive Celebration Chase at 2m.
Sixmilebridge was another Pauling bumper horse to impress in the last, where Juby Ball made his ground smoothly and could well be capable of winning another bumper. He looks well bought at £38k.
Last port of call was Taunton on Tuesday where a shadow was cast over proceedings by news of the death of Keagan Kirkby in a point-to-point over the weekend. A popular and valued member of the Paul Nicholls team, the success of Fire Flyer – the horse he rode out every morning – was an emotional one for all involved. Keagan had started out with Jeremy Scott and it was his Golden Ace who was clearly the star of the show, breezing home in the Mares novice hurdle. She was given quotes as short as 12-1 for the Mares Novice at the Festival.
The faster ground seemed to catch a few riders out and generally the leaders were often allowed too much rope. There was not much to note for the future, bar the jumping of Tonto Foley, who was placed at a big price after really attacking his fences. If the stable picks up in the next couple of weeks he will be added, but for now the yard’s quiet spell continues. Sevenofus was second in the same race, giving Carroll Gray a third big-priced place horse this week, and they are clearly in flying form.
Released: Ed Keeper, Springwell Bay, Petit Tonnerre, Taxiing
Added: Sisters In The Sky, Zhang Fei, I’ve Madeupmymind