Horses To Follow » Azzerti


Azzerti ran a really good race to finish second to the highly-regarded High Bridge in the opening novices’ hurdle at Newbury on Saturday.

Alan King’s horse travelled really well through his race for Wayne Hutchinson, and his jumping was good. He moved up along the inside into the home straight, and a good jump at the third last flight took him up in behind the leaders, market leaders Multiculture and High Bridge, with Little Chunk splitting the pair. Azzerti still had around three lengths to make up on the leaders at that point, but he was travelling best of all when a mistake at the second last flight halted his momentum. He just lost his back legs and he had to get going again. At the same time, High Bridge was responding to pressure on the near side and was putting distance between himself and his rivals. Azzerti got back after him he jumped the last well and, while it never looked like he would catch High Bridge, he closed on him all the way to the line to narrow the deficit to just over two lengths.

It was a massive run from Azzerti. High Bridge is highly-regarded, he was a good bumper horse last season, he was sixth in Ballyandy’s Champion Bumper, and this was his third win over hurdles on the bounce. Yet Azzerti got close to him, he travelled better than him through the race and it is not stretching it to say that, had he jumped the second last flight well, there is a chance that he would have beaten him. The pair of them finished nicely clear of the nicely-backed Multiculture.

Azzerti was giving away weight to all his rivals too (High Bridge was alotted 4lb more than him but his rider claimed 7lb), which makes the performance even more meritorious than it was visually He ran the winner to two lengths, giving him 3lb, despite the fact that he was rated 12lb inferior to him. Bookmakers put High Bridge in at around 20/1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, but there is a chance that Azzerti is being overlooked. He only won his maiden on his previous run, and this was just his fourth race over hurdles, so he has plenty of scope for progression. The handicapper raised him just 4lb to a mark of 132, and he would be of interest now in a big handicap if his trainer chose to go down that route now.

11th February 2017