Past Winners » I Shot The Sheriff


I am backing I Shot The Sheriff here, 7/1 is more than fair about Tony Martin’s horse in my book.

Initially with Warren Greatrex for two runs in bumpers, the Westerner gelding joined David Pipe prior to starting over hurdles two seasons ago, and he showed clear promise on his two completed runs over hurdles for him. He won the first of them at Wetherby before shaping with encouragement in a Grade 2 race at Cheltenham behind Coneygree.

He was pulled up after the third last that day, but he had travelled well in fourth, and he moved slightly closer and travelled strongly at the end of the back straight. He just reached for the fourth last flight, however, and he may have hurt himself a little there as, while he carried on and continued to travel well enough, he was pulled up soon after the next flight before he had really been asked for much of an effort.

Off for three months after that, he returned to finish second to the talented Broadway Buffalo at Warwick, before falling at halfway in the Albert Bartlett Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. He clearly had a problem afterwards as he missed the whole of last season, and he only reappeared for Tony Martin in February, nearly two years after he had last been seen. That said, it is interesting that he is still owned by Malcolm Denmark.

His two runs for Martin have both been really encouraging. In the first of them, over this trip at Navan on his first run in a handicap, he travelled really well out the back, he made smooth progress out wide early in the home straight and he traded as short as 1.5 in-running as he jumped up to get to within a length of Forever Gold at the second last. He tired from there, however, he just couldn’t stay with the winner from the final flight. He still finished second though. It was a good run.

He built on that promising return when winning a rated hurdle at Wexford three weeks ago. He travelled really well again through that race, he made smooth ground on the final circuit, and he eased up alongside the long-time leader Velocity Boy over the final flight before coming seven lengths clear quite easily up the run-in. The runner-up boosted that form when he dead-heated with Rogue Trader in a useful novice hurdle at Limerick last weekend.

In light of that run, I Shot The Sheriff was raised a further 3lb by the handicapper, but he can run off his old mark today. Even without that enhanced piece of form, he has the scope to progress a fair way beyond a mark of 130. Ruby Walsh isn’t available today but Paul Townend is a good replacement and he should be clear favourite in my book. He is well worth backing at 7/1 or 13/2.

His biggest danger may be his stable companion Mydor, and he seems to be the one for money this morning, but, at a similar price, I prefer I Shot The Sheriff. It is a good each-way race, so he is an each-way bet.