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MARCH 2017 HORSES TO FOLLOW
ATTIMO     (Sam England)

8 year old chesnut gelding     (Nayef - Alanda)     556/3P34/P211-FPP551443

A flat recruit from Germany in 2012, he followed a tried and trusted route from there to Charlie Mann's house (literally - he lived in the dining room for two days whilst his stable was being prepared), Attimo started in Britain with three hurdle runs for the purpose of getting handicapped. And then he tried chasing, without too much promise. Another change of trainer occurred at some point between March 2015 and March 2016. Things started as normal but soon picked up, as the new outfit realised that the trick was to keep Attimo busy. When a horse has had ten races in three years prior to this, keeping active is easier said than done, but the new team managed it and he won races at Sedgefield and Southwell. The hat trick bid was foiled by a fall and after the summer off, Attimo ran quite badly on his comeback, and the next race as well. From there it was possible to return to what had worked before, and he gained a third win on Boxing Day. By the time Attimo hits late February his record when having no more that fifteen days splitting races reads 11F513 and in the sixteen to twenty-one day band there is a rapid drop off to 5254, although the second place was quite a close call. There is a potential trend for him being better dominating lesser talents from a high weight, but for now it seems like a side-effect of when the time lag fits. *** STOP PRESS: Pulled up with a burst blood vessel at Catterick on 28th February, in a run that would have fitted the conditions ***

Chases with a race in the last fifteen days

EASTVIEW BOY     (Philip Kirby)

6 year old chesnut gelding     (Iktibas – Eastview Princess)     434721-4455U162P

Last seen pulling up at Uttoxeter, this is nothing to be worried about. Unless you are planning to invest large sums of money on him at Uttoxeter. Or most other racecourses. The clue is in the name, as his favourite location is on the east side of the country. The view is not so appealing, but we tend to consider something to be a view if it is easy on the eye, whereas any stuff that you can see is the view, and it just seems that Eastview Boy is motivated by odd things. The place that forces an upwelling of affection in his heart, and more importantly, legs and lungs is Newcastle. Form there reads 42112, the worst of them being his bumper debut. The two defeats since have been by three and a half lengths and three-quarters of a length. So having established Eastview Boy as one to be with at that track, how has he dealt with compatible venues? Well, not so good. Tailed off fourth in Wetherby bumper. Seventh in his hurdling bow at Doncaster (but beaten only a dozen lengths). Fifth twice hurdling at Wetherby, well beaten, and also sixth there in a chase. So there is just a chance that he hates that track with all the irrational passion that is applied to his favourite place. However, his best runs have all been with a fairly recent race, so the venue horizon can be broadened beyond Newcastle for Eastview Boy, although failures will not be tolerated for long.

Hurdles or chases on a left-handed, galloping, level track, with up to two weeks since the last race

HOLBROOK PARK     (Neil King)

7 year old bay gelding     (Midnight Legend – Viciana)     93/2PP1-2424

Having highlighted the two and a half mile handicap hurdle at Plumpton in mid-February as a race that can produce some winners, it seemed only fair to select something from it. For the purposes of not ratting on that opinion, Holbrook Park is inserted into the March list. Reason one is that despite finishing fourth, the stable has not been in the greatest form and thus he has a very good chance of turning out and doing a bit better. Secondly, the tentative Warwick specialist diagnosis made at the time has been overtaken by a more reliable looking trend of Holbrook Park needing time off between races. When it is at least eight weeks (ignoring the infinity thing for his racing debut, in which he finished last), the results have been as follows: second of eleven (in a bumper, but well beaten), first of eight (maiden hurdle), fourth of fifteen (handicap hurdle) and fourth of ten (but by only five lengths). What may play in favour of anyone following him is that by not yet getting that second win, the betting market might underestimate his talents.

Hurdles or chases with at least eight weeks between races

JAM SESSION     (Ian Williams)

5 year old chesnut gelding     (Duke Of Marmalade - Night Dhu)     120-24

Jam, it is universally acknowledged, is nice. Even people that dismiss jam in public do secretly love it, in the privacy of their own home. A jam session is something that sounds like it should be as wonderful, but has always been vulnerable to abuse from musicians that are a little unaware of their own limits. Jam Session, the horse, has been in the same awkward situation. He began his racing career as a bumper horse, in short distance races. He won at Doncaster for the first try, and got beaten half a length at Cheltenham in the second, on New Year's Day 2016. This race, since inception, has tended to work out quite badly for form compared to most Cheltenham bumpers and when Jam Session next ran, in an Aintree Grade 2 he was stuffed. Badly. So he went flat racing. That resulted in a debut win, and a rapid regression which led to losing his fourth go by over fifty lengths. Trusting the past formula of switching disciplines after a terrible performance, Jam Session was off to hurdling next, finishing second at Plumpton. He was a New Year's Day runner again, suggesting connections that really need some fresh air to start the year, running less well at Exeter, but not disastrously. The winner, Air Horse One, has added two more since, to boost the form. This leads to belief that Jam Session can wig out madly in handicap company.

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

SWING HARD     (Sue Smith)

9 year old brown gelding     (Zagreb - Hurricane Jane)     422583141/P72P5/333U31133-P572

Anyone reading this entry in a not very private environment should be very shy of doing an internet search on this horse, as many of the returns will be video experiences that may not be to everyone's taste - although the ones which spoof a certain franchise of Bruce Willis action films ought to allow a little bit of flexibility for the humour. Or is that film series spoofing itself by now? The horse Swing Hard is blissfully unaware of these questions, and one of the few mammals on the planet not to have made an appearance in the films. He is, however, a former fetishist about the number three, so maybe anyone selflessly prepared to sit through all the dodgy entertainment products would have a chance of spotting him in action. Of a different kind. Finishing third out of habit is something that is now apparently purged from his thinking, and Swing Hard has actually won four races. The most significant factor is that three of them have been when racing right-handed. This is from a mere seven tries going that way, and compares very favourably with one win in twenty on left-handed courses - a perfectly solid display at Newcastle over three years ago. It appears that he is still happy with any race from 2m 4f upwards, and a fair spin around Wetherby last time demonstrates that Swing Hard is in the form to consider winning again soon.

Chases on a right-handed track

THOMAS BLOSSOM     (Ali Stronge)

7 year old bay gelding     (Dylan Thomas - Woman Secret)     88-93103

With four flat wins in total, and a couple of decent all-weather performances already in 2017, the selection is made here on the basis that is time for Thomas Blossom to bloom over jumps as well. Not that he has been a total dud, but he has not flowered as he should be capable of doing. Having got those two very predictable puns out of the way, what is Thomas Blossom all about as a hurdler? So far, quite ordinary, but better than he showed in three novice hurdles where he struggled to beat many opponents. There was a definite bouquet of educational about them. The performances did not appear to merit a handicap mark of 100, but scraping into class 5 level by the skin of his wotsits, he was a close second (backing up the "should have tried harder" aspect to earlier spins) and then won a 2m 1f Exeter race from Hahnenkam, who has become his stable mate again. Disappointing in class 3 company at Cheltenham - or perhaps not disappointing, just failed, because of the rise in class - he ran better at Taunton after that. With one exception, ground worse than good has been avoided, but Thomas Blossom does look as if he prefers easy tracks - although the evidence is limited and open to review.

Handicap hurdles on an easy track
The definitely non-grey Jam Session makes up for it by leering at the camera. Normal for Plumpton
Kempton, May 2016, and there is no need for Thomas Blossom to get stressed, because this is his third run, qualifying for a handicap mark, and he knows it is all about the future.
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