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Scrapper Smith

Scrapper Smith is worth noting now after two good but unlucky, runs, the latest of which came in the listed one-mile-five-furlong handicap at Chester on Saturday.

He did benefit from being held up off a strong pace, and he hardly left the inside rail throughout, but the first and second also raced in the rear division for much of the race, and Scrapper Smith was checked in his run twice, the second, and worse instance, coming at a crucial time as they turned into the home straight when the first two had already gone for home. Also, the evidence on the day suggested that the inside rail was probably the slowest part of the track in the home straight, and that’s where Scrapper Smith made his ground late on, finishing really strongly to get to within a length of the winner Tominator at the line, having made up several lengths through the final furlong.

While the times indicated that the ground was probably a little easier than the official description of good, Alistair Whillans’s gelding is better on soft ground, so it was a fine effort to get so close on ground that was not quite ideal, having not had a clear passage. On top of all that, he was racing from 2lb out of the handicap. This was a career-best for Scrapper Smith on Racing Post Ratings, building on his previous run, which was also a career-best, when he just failed to peg back Edmaaj in the Lanark Silver Bell at Hamilton. He is in excellent heart at present.

He hit from this time last year, as he did in 2010, and he is a horse to watch for the autumn now, given his penchant for easy ground.

1st September 2012