Horses To Follow » HTF – Britain

Third Wind

Third Wind ran better than the bare form of his run suggests on his seasonal debut in finishing fifth in the Pertemps Qualifier. Weak enough in the pre-race market, he travelled nicely through his race for Tom O’Brien in midfield behind a moderate pace. He got shuffled back a little on the run out of the back straight, but he travelled well into the home straight, he picked up well on the near side, and it looked like he was going to be involved in the finish. His run just flattened out after that, and he just kept on without progressing further, finishing fifth in the end, just over four lengths behind the winner Dell’ Arca, with the first five clear.

It was an encouraging run by Hughie Morrison’s horse on his seasonal debut. It was his first run since he ran a big race in the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham in March, when he did best of the British runners, and when he did well to come from the rear of the field to reach the placings, in a race in which the pace held up well. The handicapper left him on his mark of 141 after that, which was fair, and it is a mark off which he will be of interest in good staying handicap hurdles this term. He is only six, and this was just his seventh run over hurdles, so he still has potential to progress. He is qualified already now for the Pertemps Final, and it wouldn’t be surprising if that race was again his target, although he does hold an entry in the Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle at Haydock on Betfair Chase day, and he will be of interest if he lines up in that.

Newbury, 5th November 2020


Mohaayed put up a good performance to finish second behind Unowhatimeanharry in the Pertemps Qualifier. He travelled well along the inside through the early stages of the race, but he started to come under a ride as they left the back straight. Only seventh or eighth as they turned for home, he stayed on well from the top of the home straight. He was a little crowded as Unowhatimeanharry moved to his left on the run to the last, but he stayed on well on the near side up the run-in to get to within a length and a half of the winner by the time they reached the winning line.

Winner of the County Hurdle and the Betfair Exchange Hurdle in 2018, Dan Skelton’s horse had a season to forget last term, but he shaped encouragingly on his debut this season over two and a half miles at Aintree last month. This was his first attempt at three miles and he seemed to stay it well. Actually, it was surprising that he came under pressure as early as he did, a County Hurdle winner, and it looked like it was his stamina that got him close. He has dropped from a high handicap rating of 153 to a mark of 141, and he is very interesting off that mark. He is qualified for the Pertemps Final now and, given his Cheltenham Festival record, it would not be surprising if his trainer targeted that race now.

Aintree, 7th November 2020

The Big Bite

The Big Bite looked good in winning the two-mile handicap chase. Prominent from early, Henry Oliver’s horse travelled well for Jonathan Burke, despite the fact that he made one or two jumping errors. He got in tight to the final fence on the back straight, but he was quickly back on and even keel, he jumped the cross fence well, and jumped to the front over the third last fence. He was challenged by Defi Sacre on the long run to the final fence, and he looked vulnerable, as first Defi Sacre and then Duke Of Navan challenged. But he found lots when Jonathan Burke asked him to pick up again. He cleared away on the run-in and he won well in a good time.

It was a hugely likeable performance by the son of Scorpion. He won well and he left the impression that he had more left to give. The handicapper raised him by 6lb to a mark of 145, but that still looks like a workable mark. This was his first run for Henry Oliver, it was his first run since last February, and it was just his fourth chase, so he has the scope to continue improving. He ran in the Champion Bumper in 2018, and he ran in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle, so he has obviously always been well regarded. It may be that a fast-run two miles suits him best, but he has won over two and a half miles, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next.

Aintree, 7th November 2020

Buster Thomas

Buster Thomas put up a good performance to finish second to Not A Role Model in the conditional jockeys’ handicap chase.

He made a fairly significant error at the first fence but, after that his jumping was good. The problem was that he sat just behind and towards the outside of Keep Moving, who jumped continually to his left and halted his jumping momentum at a couple of his fences. Even at that, he travelled well into the home straight and moved ominously into second place behind leader Not A Role Model, who was also jumping to his left. He looked like the most likely winner when he travelled well on the run to the second last fence, but he just couldn’t find the turn of foot that would take him past the winner.

It was still a good run by Emma Lavelle’s horse. This was his fourth run back after a break of a year and a half, and it was another step forward on his previous run at Market Rasen. He does go well at Wincanton, but he can go well away from that track too, and he has run well on soft and heavy ground in the past as well as on this good ground. There should be a handicap chase in him off this type of mark in the low to mid-120s.

Wincanton, 7th November 2020

The White Mouse

The White Mouse was impressive in winning the mares’ handicap hurdle. Settled towards the rear of the field early on and towards the outside, she travelled well through her race for Richard Johnson and she warmed to her jumping, even if she was a little to her left at a couple of her obstacles. She was wide throughout, she gave away ground at the turns, but she remained in a good rhythm, largely uninterrupted. She travelled well down the back straight, moved up just behind the leaders on the run to the end of the back straight, and travelled well into the home straight. Perfect Myth kicked for home from the second last flight, but The White Mouse was quickly out after her. She closed to within two lengths of the leader by the time they reached the last and, despite getting in tight to the final flight, she stayed on strongly up the run-in to get up and win by two lengths, going away.

It was a fine training performance by Lucy Wadham to produce The White Mouse in this form, to put up a performance like this, on her first run in 595 days. This was her first run since she clipped heels on the home turn when travelling well in the mares’ novices’ hurdle final at Newbury in March 2019. She had won two of her hurdle races before that, and she proved here that she retains lots of ability. She was weak in the pre-race market too, so it is reasonable to expect that she will improve for this, her first run in so long. She is only six and this was just her fifth run over hurdles, so she has lots of scope for progression. She wasn’t overly fluent at her hurdles here, so she should improve as she becomes slicker over her obstacles, and she could do even better back on a left-handed track.

Wincanton, 7th November 2020