Horses To Follow » Whitby Jack

Whitby Jack

Whitby Jack put up a nice performance to land the two-mile handicap hurdle at Kempton on Saturday, the last race on the card. Well-backed in the morning and on-course before the race, Gary Moore’s horse travelled well through the early stages of the race behind the two leaders, he moved up nicely on the run around the home turn, took it up out in the centre of the track at the second last before moving over to the stands rail and keeping on well over the final flight and all the way to the line.

There were several noteworthy aspects to this performance. Firstly, the fact that he was so well-supported suggests that he had been going well at home since his return to the track at Sandown a week previously. That had been his first run in 21 months, and he had raced keenly behind the leaders before fading out of it at the top of the home straight.

Secondly, he travelled really well through his race here. He travelled like a good horse, and he could be called as a likely winner from the end of the back straight. And thirdly, the winning time was really good, the second fastest comparative time of the day, and only marginally slower than the time that Oscara Dara clocked in winning the Lanzarote Hurdle, despite the fact that, as this was the last race of the day, the ground was probably at its worst.

The handicapper has raised Whitby Jack 7lb for this, but that is not harsh. He has only just turned six, he has raced just seven times over hurdles in his life, and this was just his second race in almost two years, so he has lots of scope for progression. He has winning form over hurdles on better ground, and he was third in a 15-runner maiden on good to firm ground on the flat so he should be fine on better ground, and he would be interesting if he were to take his chance in one of the big handicap hurdles now.

12th January 2013