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Eyecatchers

Good morning all,

I'd like to tell you I'm back and refreshed from a week away, but sadly we got caught up in the “pingdemic” and that's meant we couldn't get out and have a break. We'll try again in a few weeks time.

In the meantime, the latest round-up of horses I've seen that I think are going to be winning races in the near future, plus a selection from Uttoxeter.

Three County’s (Max Young)

Ran Uttoxeter 14/7, 3m Handicap Chase

Three County’s form reads pretty badly, having had fourteen tries without success (or indeed, hitting the frame) but not for the first time since joining Max Young, showed a bit of promise on his latest start and there might be a poor handicap in him this summer. 

On his first start for the yard at Ffos Las, he went with some zest from the front and although he was just starting to get the worst of it when he fell four out, he was still in with a chance of the places, and it rated a better effort. An early faller next time, he ran much better at Uttoxeter last time than his finishing position suggested, again going with a lot of verve and jumping much better on the lead until his stamina seemingly ebbed away from three out. 

If they drop him back to 2m4f – or maybe even 2m is worth a go – and can jump that well off the front again, he might yet get his head in front. Not one to give up on yet, and could reward us at big odds, given that overall moderate profile. 

Firth Of Clyde (Paul & Oliver Cole) 

Ran Newbury 16th July, 7f Maiden

I was lucky enough to be at Newbury last Friday, as it was my good friend Mr Delargy’s 50th Birthday celebrations, and a good time was had by all. 

It meant I got to see some decent sorts in the two divisions of the novice that started the card off, and whilst nothing much jumped out at me from the first division, I did like the look of Firth Of Clyde in the second one. 

He had two handlers in the paddock but was well under control, and he looked very much like he would come on plenty for a run. On looks he does appear more of a 10f type, possibly not that surprisingly given his breeding, and so to finish fourth in what looked a decent race on paper beforehand rates a pretty solid first effort. 

He’ll improve plenty for a step up in trip next time, and although we may not see the best of him until next year, he can pick up a 1m+ maiden without too much bother on this showing. 

Out of interest, winner and long odds-on favourite Reach For The Moon was very coltish in the paddock beforehand, and clearly had his mind on other things….

Hooper (Nicky Henderson)

Ran Market Rasen, Saturday 17th July

Paddock pick for this competitive handicap hurdle (and by some way) was Hooper, who has been thriving this spring and summer and was looking to complete a five-timer here. 

In the end he finished sixth, not beaten far at the death but that doesn’t really tell the full story, as his young rider had him hung out three and four wide for much of the contest, and you can’t really be getting away with that on quick ground around this tight track. It’s to Hooper’s credit he was still in there fighting at the last, and I still believe he has more to offer whilst the ground remains on the quick side. Maybe they’ll come back here with him on Prelude Day in September. 

Marching Army (Saeed Bin Suroor)

Ran Leicester, 15th July, 1m2f Maiden

Here’s the sort of horse I like. There’s well built and then there’s Marching Army, clearly backward at 2 and still learning his job after just the three starts. He really is absolutely huge, and covers some ground (even when in walking pace) and although he had the run of this from the front, the way he powered away from them in the final two furlongs really was a joy to watch. 

He’ll get 12f no bother, but given his size you’d always want to see him on a galloping track rather than have to negotiate tight turns. I could see somewhere like Doncaster suiting him well, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a quality handicap in him before the season is out. 

On to today, and the 2.40 at Uttoxeter is the race I had a look at on their card. Smart Getaway looks the one on paper but sticking him up 4lb for his Perth second looks pretty harsh to my eyes, and I think he's beatable. If some rain magically materialised then Speredek would shoot to the top of the list, but that looks unlikely, so at the prices I'm going to have a small e/w bet on the rank outsider Three Colours Red.

He's starting to look very well handicapped now (13lb lower than last win, which I'll admit came two years ago) but shaped better on his latest start, hitting the front three out and only weakening from the last to finish fifth. He'd have needed that run, along with his previous one, to get him fitter after a winter break. If he can build on it, he'll have his chance in what actually looks quite an open race.

Back tomorrow with a look at some of the big Saturday handicaps.

Good luck with all your bets today,

David.

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