Horses To Follow » Sammy Black

Sammy Black

Sammy Black put up a good performance to win the two-mile-three-furlong handicap hurdle at Naas last Sunday week.

Fairly weak in the market beforehand, Barry Connell’s horse was settled well back in the field by Danny Mullins behind a fast pace set by habitual tearaway Rory O’Moore. He moved up nicely on the run around the home turn and, switched to the inside, moved into third place at the second last flight, for all that it looked like Rory O’Moore still had an unassailable lead. Sammy Black stayed on well from that point, however, and responded well to pressure to get to within three lengths of the leader on jumping the last. From there, he powered home up the run in and went away to win by almost two lengths from Hazariban, who kept on well on the near side to deprive the long-time leader of the runner-up spot.

This was a good performance from the Tony Mullins-trained gelding. He travelled well through the race, he made his ground nicely and he saw it out well, showing a nice willing attitude to win well. The time was good, the fastest time on the day by a fair way and the only time that dipped below Racing Post par on the day. The winning time was, of course, aided by the fast pace that Rory O’Moore set, but Sammy Black still had to clock it. It was an impressive performance.

The Black Sam Bellamy gelding should be able to build on this now. He was a decent novice hurdler last season – he was only beaten six lengths by Un De Sceaux in a maiden hurdle at Punchestown last February – but he had been disappointing in his previous three runs. This was much more encouraging, racing off a mark that was 5lb higher than the mark off which he won a decent novices’ handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse last March.

The handicapper raised him 5lb for this, but that is not harsh. He is only six, he still has scope to progress over hurdles and there could be a decent two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle in him now. Also, with two runs over fences already under his belt, he could be an interesting novice chaser next season.

9th March 2014