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JULY 2020 HORSES TO FOLLOW
ARTY CAMPBELL     (Bernard Llewellyn)

10 year old bay gelding     (Dylan Thomas – Kincob)     O5/36/22/3475/P3216/0612/398-

Arty Campbell has not done a huge amount of hurdling over the years because he has this annoying habit of popping up and winning on the flat at steady intervals. And it was in that sphere that he caught the eye for inclusion after lurking on the ‘possibles’ list for quite some time. He has had two flat runs in June (plus another entry on 30th of the month) and the most recent actual appearance was a perfectly respectable effort over two miles. Thus come the magical start of July, he will be fit and there are signs of being in form after a seven month break too. Plus his first hurdles win came on the back of a switch back to hurdles after a flat stint too. Obviously with only two wins from twenty-two hurdle runs, it does need some ruthless filtering to divine the art of making Arty Campbell profitable – it is noted that after running out on hurdles debut, all subsequent achievements could be filed under miraculous, but something more discerning is needed. That seems to be directional, as going right-handed he has results of 2411298. The latter pair were during last autumn when Arty Campbell was a bit lacking in inspiration all round, but the other defeats included a short head second at Kempton and a close fourth at Ascot. The SPs on the two wins are more than enough to soak up the losses and that can continue as he runs left-handed and badly often enough to scare away potential supporters. The longest distance that Arty Campbell has contested is 2m 5.5f, which includes a win and connections have long done their best to avoid soft or heavy ground, so it really is the track direction that we need concern ourselves with – there is not enough evidence to confirm a fear of undulating venues.

Hurdles on a right-handed track

DOUBLY CLEVER     (Ben Pauling)

8 year old chesnut gelding     (Iffraaj – Smartest)     1115P6/30783544/11423/3664/P12112U60-

This horse should be not so much doubly clever as doubly, even trebly, angry as the circumstances of 2020 have wiped out a big chunk of the summer jumps season, which is his favourite time of year – other than those winters when he is in his box stuffing his face all day. There are years when this time had been usefully employed getting his handicap mark down, but after a recent change of stable, it is unknown as to what the idea is for the coming cold/wet spell. As the planet will probably be taken out by a rogue asteroid or a roaming black hole by then, why worry? A pound to a penny says Doubly Clever is not giving a monkey's about it. Anyway, the new team have already rolled out of the sandy grey carpet for him and given the horse a couple of flat tune-up runs on the all weather this month. He did finish second in one of them, but by ten lengths to a horse that was tailed off next time, so at this stage it cannot be deemed to have a raging success. Hopefully this will remind the yard that they have a horse waiting to attack summer jumping with a vengeance (as long as it is not chasing). His record in the months listed is 111301142312112. The unplaced effort was at Listed level in a handicap hurdle but otherwise Doubly Clever has been a leader in the recent trend of fielding juvenile hurdlers in the summer that are not basically hopeless once a couple of moderately athletic opponents appear. Strange times we live in.

Hurdle races between May and September

HATS OFF TO LARRY     (Mick Channon)

6 year old bay gelding     (Sixties Icon – Highland Jig)     66/4-

In some ways this selection is comparable choice to Arty Campbell, other than being younger, having far fewer hurdle races under his belt and different parents. But he is roughly the same colour… Hats Off To Larry did not get too many accolades for his hurdles debut at Ascot, when sixth of seven, but winner Anemoi had a peak rating of 135 after winning his next race and runner-up Pym hit a mark of 152 over fences at the start of this year. For his next race, Hats Off To Larry did not improve his finishing position but got 75% nearer the winner, who was Cervaro Mix – a horse rated in the 130s as both a chaser and hurdles since then. It seems odd that after a promising start Hats Off To Larry would then go more than thirteen months without being seen over jumps but the intervening time included two separate breaks adding up to eleven months and a six race flat spell that included two wins and three seconds. With his recent flat comeback being another close second he can now boast of having been in the first three on fourteen out of twenty-one flat attempts, which is very good for a mere handicapper. The token hurdles return on New Year’s Day was uninspiring but Hats Off To Larry had a wind operation after that, leaving a horse with a hurdles rating of 110 to play with (he is on 87 for flat racing) and reason to hope for improvement to come, as long as connections do not keep being tempted by flat racing. That way lies madness, but only for those that have not already reached that stage.

Handicap hurdles up to 2m 4f

HEDGEINATOR     (Robert Stephens)

10 year old chesnut gelding     (Beneficial – Annalecky)     47/1/P43/1455211/432/4-

Some people get kicked in the nether regions by Fate and there does not seem to be any reason for it. On the 1st October 2018 Hedgeinator was listed with new owners and as a new arrival at trainer Robert Stephens yard, and a week later he finished a close second at Uttoxeter. That looked like a promising continuation of his past Irish form (won a point-to-point in January 2016, then added a maiden hunter chase two and a half weeks later) and work when with Christian Williams. Unfortunately he was off for seventeen months following that run and after he finished well beaten but at least fourth out of eleven on his comeback, although any chance to work with the optimism generated was trimmed by the suspension of racing twelve days later. He was hardly in desperate need of a break… Going back a little, Hedgeinator stayed in Ireland for a while after that quick double but never fired in the same style, moving to Wales in the summer of 2017. He made a winning debut for the new team and after some mixed results, the form came back briefly in January 2018, fuelled by cheekpieces, as he won twice that month. What did that prove for us? Firstly nobody sees him as a hurdler – a couple of maiden hurdle spins at Navan in 2015 before he won his point is the limit of his experience in that discipline. Secondly, he likes lightly populated staying chases. The hunter chase win in Ireland did not fit that branch of endeavour but a few in that race never got anywhere near the action and the line up must have seemed smaller to him than it actually was, because Hedgeinator made the running in splendid isolation. The threads come together because his need to make all without too much harassment fits the smaller fields. In handicap chases with up to seven runners, his record is 141132, and that can be continued.

Handicap chases with up to seven runners

MORODER     (Seamus Mullins)

6 year old bay gelding     (Morozov - Another Tonto)     21/3423-

Getting beaten fifteen lengths in a Plumpton bumper is not what most people would pinpoint as a good career omen, but this horse shares a name with the man who co-wrote and co-produced disco smash - to use the 70s vernacular - "I Feel Love" and the horse Moroder was inspired by the love thus, winning at Uttoxter in the follow up. In fairness a five horse heavy going bumper is not to be over estimated and the oppo have since specialised in being placed at the expense of actual success. With horse, trainer and owner now forging onwards together in (electric?) dreams, Moroder made a decent stab of his hurdles bow to be a close third of eleven. After that he twice failed to cope with the 145-rated Cat Tiger (Grade 1 form, sometimes a 0-110 handicap mentality) on two occasions, and other capable horses finished between them in the first of those. The risk of stuffing up his handicap rating was survived and when Moroder was last seen it was his first handicap and he was beaten only a length in a half in a nineteen horse race. Had it not been for the unseemly crowd taking part it might have been a first hurdles triumph for Moroder as he encountered plenty of problems finding space in the home straight. That was 2m 5f on soft ground (all races have been on soft or heavy) and he looked like a stayer in the making. But staying hurdler or staying chaser? With his best three performances being the trio not at Plumpton it could pay to avoid sharp tracks, despite Seamus Mullins' top two courses for wins in the last five seasons being Fontwell and Plumpton. Perhaps Moroder has spent lockdown being lectured on being more of a team player, so we will go for a wait and see approach.

Handicap hurdles or handicap chases on good to soft, soft or heavy, over 2m 4f or more
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Cat Tiger (1) shows the way to Moroder (9) and Top Man at Plumpton. After all this time it is impossible to remember at what stage of the race it was taken, but they are moving away from the two and a half mile start - albeit apparently slowly.

RADDLE AND HUM     (Micky Hammond)

6 year old bay mare     (Milan – Gaybric)     8584246-

Before the Rules results listed above, Raddle And Hum had one shot at a mares only point in Ireland and finished second. The one that beat her had been carried off of the track in her previous run and has since had a couple of Rules runs for Henry De Bromhead, managing a third place. The one immediately behind her has been fourth in all Rules hurdle runs, the close call at Downpatrick in a first time tongue tie seemingly the most fun. So that pointing spin is not disastrous, but Raddle And Hum has a bit more of a ho-hum and short of razzle for her subsequent on course achievements. For her bumper debut and novice hurdling the search for a handicap mark was likely to influence that but the two and a half mile hurdles debut at Newcastle was not bad with Raddle And Hum ending up fifth and the follow up shambles was a two miler where she had a hood on and appeared to disapprove of it a great deal. Back up in trip she achieved a creditable five lengths fourth at Kelso before finishing second on her handicap debut at Wetherby. It was an interesting lesson in interpreting the form book because at Kelso she looked as if further than the Kelso 2m 5f would help but Wetherby was 2m 3.5f and a much lesser uphill finish. Since then Raddle And Hum appeared to not come close to staying 3m 1.5f at Catterick and then disappointed a little back at Kelso. Like the double album after which she is nearly named, the best half of her career is actually quite appealing – what is needed is the discipline to dump the futile guff. The impression left is that she has learned a lot from last season and will be ready to make a serious play at success in the coming one, probably in the wetter spells.

Handicap hurdles or handicap chases over 2m 3f or more, rated up to 120
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