Horses To Follow » Fox Norton

Fox Norton

Fox Norton put up a nice performance to win the two-mile-one-furlong novices’ chase at Market Rasen on Saturday.

Sent to the front from flagfall by Daryl Jacob, the Lando gelding’s jumping was good in the main. He was hunted up by his two main market rivals Golden Doyen and Pain Au Chocolat from early, but he maintained his rhythm over his fences. Increasing the pace as they ran out of the back straight and levelled up for home, his rivals came off the bridle on the run to the third last, but Jacob sat still and his horse pinged the obstacle. Fox Norton was also good at the last two fences when he did come under pressure and, although Golden Doyen rallied on the run-in to run him to three parts of a length, it never looked like he was going to beat him, Fox Norton always looked the likely winner.

Fox Norton was a good juvenile hurdler for Nick Williams two seasons ago. He won a Grade 2 contest at Doncaster, he wasn’t beaten far by Guitar Pete in the Grade 1 Hurdle at Aintree, and he rounded off his juvenile season by finishing third behind Abbyssial in the Champion Four-Year-Old Hurdle at Punchestown, when he had Kitten Rock and Guitar Pete and Tiger Roll behind him. He only ran twice over hurdles last season, but he won the second of them and, switched to Neil Mulholland’s, he ended last term by winning a novices’ chase at Huntingdon at the end of May. That experience seemed to stand to him on Saturday, because he was good and assured at his fences. He won well in a decent time, 0.22secs/furlong slower than standard, and conceding a stone to a Golden Doyen, who was a useful juvenile hurdler last season. The pair of them came nicely clear of Pain Au Chocolat, another useful juvenile hurdler last season, who was quietly fancied for the Triumph Hurdle.

Fox Norton should go on from this now. He can step up in grade. Two miles is his trip and, while he doesn’t have to lead, we know now that he can if he needs to. He is only five and, a 145-rated hurdler who has raced just twice over fences so far, he has bags of scope for progression.

17th October 2015