Horses To Follow » Straw Fan Jack

Straw Fan Jack

Straw Fan Jack put up a nice performance to finish second to Black Poppy in the two-mile handicap hurdle at Newbury on Saturday. He horse disputed the lead with Tap Tap Boom from flagfall. He came under a ride from Sean Houlihan after landing over the third last flight, but he responded well. He got the measure of Tap Tap Boom over the second last, but he was immediately challenged by the favourite. It looked like Black Poppy was travelling better at that point, and he had moved on by a length by the time they got to the final flight, but Straw Fan Jack battled back gamely on the far side, and went down by just a short head in the end.

This was a fine performance by Sheila Lewis’ horse, it was a good return to form after he disappointed in a better race at Ascot last month on his first run back after a short break. He raced over two miles as if he will get further, but he probably doesn’t truly get two and a half. It is probable that a well-run stiff two miles suits him best, and ridden forward like this, possibly even a little more aggressively. The handicapper raised him by 3lb for this run to a mark of 131, and he is not obviously unexposed, but he is in good form now, and he will be of interest wherever he goes now. He may not get into any of the handicap hurdles at Cheltenham, but he will be of interest if he goes to Aintree, a track at which he won a novices’ hurdle last season.
Newbury, 5th March 2022