Horses To Follow » Oneupmanship


A lot of the talk after the two-mile-five-furlong handicap hurdle at Wincanton on Saturday centred around the winner Sizable Sam, about how green he was, as was in evidence when he appeared to lose concentration on the run to the second last flight, and about how he won with more in hand than the winning margin. All of that is legitimate talk, but the performance that Oneupmanship put up in finishing second might have gone a little under the radar as a result.

Really weak in the pre-race market, he travelled well through his race, and made nice progress down the back straight to move in behind Sizable Sam as they raced around the home turn. It appeared as if he was travelling at least as well as the leader at that point, before he came under pressure on the run to the second last flight, when Sizable Sam appeared to be going on before wandering at the second last flight and giving his pursuer a chance.

Oneupmanship hit the front after the second last and, while Sizable Sam recovered his equilibrium and the lead, the Mahler gelding stuck to his task well and, the width of the track away from his rival, he kept on to finish within a half a length of the winner at the line.

Jack Barber’s horse hasn’t won yet, but he finished in the first four in all three of his bumpers last season, and he finished second to Tolworth Hurdle winner Metier in a novices’ hurdle at Newton Abbot in October on his debut this season. This was just his third run over hurdles, and it was his best run yet, his first run in a handicap, over the longest trip over which he has ever run.  The handicapper raised him by 5lb to a mark of 123, but he has only just turned six, and he has the potential to go higher than that. From the family of Thisthatandtother and Carlingford Lough, he could step up in trip too to three miles.
Wincanton, 9th January 2021