Past Winners » Art Approval

Art Approval


You can understand why Skatman has been all the rage for the opening conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle. He is a progressive horse, he represents the red-hot Paul Nicholls, he is two for two over hurdles, he will be ridden by Lorcan Williams, and the form of his latest win at Market Rasen is working out really well already, with the second and third both winning since. He is already a well-handicapped horse, racing today off a mark of 122, when he has been raised already to a mark of 125, and he has the potential to go higher even than that.

But all of that is factored into the market and, at a bigger price, I prefer Art Approval. Fergal O’Brien also has his horses in really good form, and, winner of his last two races last season, Art Approval shaped really encouragingly on his debut this season, over more or less today’s course and distance. He was keener than ideal through the early stages of that race, but he travelled well down the hill and, after getting a little out-paced when they quickened from the top of the home straight, he kept on well up the hill to finish fourth behind the talented Guard Your Dreams, who was really well backed. 

The handicapper dropped him by 1lb for that run, down to a mark of 120, which is just 2lb higher than the mark off which he won at Exeter on his final run last season. He is only five and he has raced just six times over hurdles, so he has the potential to progress beyond that mark this season. And he should come on for his seasonal debut. He should be sharper today.

He goes well on good ground and he goes well at the track – he wasn’t beaten far either in the novices’ handicap hurdle at this meeting last year – and he should go well today.