A warm welcome to the first edition of ‘Inside The Notebook’ post Christmas. A Boxing Day lit up by Thistlecrack but there was racing up and down the country that afternoon and it’s from the tracks away from the limelight that the eyecatchers come. Before we get to Boxing Day however we have the rest of the week to look at so let’s get stuck in.
Sweettoothtommy – Sound effort albeit in a race that fell apart somewhat on chasing debut. Split Takingrisks and It’safreebee in an Irish point to point to point in 2015 and with softer ground more likely to suit better, he looks well weighted off 105 to win a staying handicap or two this winter.
Oxwich Bay – A half brother to the stable’s Pobbles Bay who won off 139 on the Welsh National card. He was 3rd on his hurdling debut, beaten less than 2 lengths in what looked a decent contest. His half brother improved up in trip and over fences so likely a long term project but should give connections plenty of fun over hurdles first.
Newera – Ran far better on 2nd start over hurdles than he did on his first. Needs one more run for a mark but then would be interesting in a 0-115/120 at Haydock (won 3 times there on the flat) especially if canny new trainer, John Groucott, were to refit the cheekpieces he wore in victory on the level.
Shannon Soul – Very well treated these days, having run well off 10lbs higher in 2015. Yet to finish worse than 4th in 6 starts at Dundalk, he could pick up a race or two on a Friday night this winter for Mick Halford, with a step back up to 10f possibly the key to getting his head back in front.
Castlehume – Much improved display on handicap debut at Down Royal. Did best of those held up off the pace, staying on well all the way to the line. His damline suggests that he will improve with more of a test of stamina and he should be found a small handicap in the coming weeks by Gordon Elliott.
Floramar – Given an educational ride on debut in a big field at Leopardstown. Allowed plenty of time to find his feet in the early stages against more experienced rivals, he picked a few off over the last few hurdles, shaping like one who will be capable of finding a small race this season.
Blast Of Koeman – Only 8th on handicap debut but tried to make ground right round the outside of a big field before flattening out close home. 2nd to Invitation Only earlier in his career and would have been 2nd to Crack Mome but for falling, there is more than enough ability to win off a similar mark to this sooner rather than later.
Three Ways – Kept warm company over hurdles so far, travelling well here before the lack of a recent run showed close home. He will find easier opportunities this winter and looks well up to winning a 0-130 in the West Country especially given that there were a few nibbles for him in the market beforehand.