Horses To Follow » Buck Magic

Buck Magic

Buck Magic may not get the credit that he deserves for winning the three-mile handicap hurdle at Newbury on Saturday. He sweated up quite badly beforehand and he wears blinkers, but he won well, he was by far the best horse in the race on the day. He was probably just idling on the run-in, but it never looked like the useful and well-backed Water Garden was going to get to him. The form is solid, the front three were clear and the time was good, the quickest time on the hurdles course on the day and faster than Racing Post par.

Neil Mulholland’s gelding travelled strongly throughout, he improved into sixth place turning out of the back straight and he was travelling best into the home straight. He got to the stands side ahead of Water Garden after the third last and he cruised into the lead, jumped the three hurdles in the home straight well and went on to win by over three lengths.

This was just his eighth run over hurdles, and just his fourth since joining Mulholland. He obviously appreciated this goodish ground – his four wins before this in all codes were achieved on good, good to firm, good and good to soft ground respectively – and he could win again now on spring ground. He is one for one at Cheltenham, having won a conditional jockeys’ race at the Paddy Power meeting when, according to connections, he may just have needed the run anyway, and he wouldn’t be without a chance if he took up his place in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham next week. Regular rider Michael Byrne would be able to ride him in that and, although he will carry a 5lb penalty for this win (the handicapper has raised him by that amount anyway) that will increase his chances of getting in. The ground could have dried up by Friday, so he could have his preferred goodish ground and, now that he has got used to the blinkers (he was a bit revved up in them when he wore them for the first time at Wincanton on his previous start), there could still be plenty more to come from him.

2nd March 2013