Today’s post comes to you from Joseph Bell (jm_bell95 on Twitter) as a guest writer, I really hope you enjoy reading his post as much as I did.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I am passionate about National Hunt racing and particularly jump racing in the South West. Here I will give you four horses, based in yards here in Devon/Cornwall/Somerset or Dorset to keep your eye on for the future and during the season.
Cobra Angel (IRE) – 6yo Brown Mare
Breeding: Flemensfirth x Lemon Cello (Accordion)
Trainer: Chris Down (Cullompton)
Owner: Upton Racing 2
BHA Rating: N/A
Chris Down began training in 2002 and has had some smart horses in their own right pass through his hands. Rhacophorus was the winner of the listed champion flat race at Aintree in 2006 when ridden by none other than Ruby Walsh. He would later be sold for £220,000 while Sir Harry Ormesher (Both owned by breeder Bill Bromley) was sold for £75,000. Since then, it’s been harder going for Down who also breeds horses himself. In recent times, he trained a smart mare named LOYAUTE who reached a mark of 132 in her prime.
Cobra Angel has a long way to go to live up to those named before her however she’s made an encouraging start to her rules career. She was purchased for £10,000 at Goffs back in August after reaching the frame in her last two Irish points. She made a satisfactory debut at Exeter behind the smart Queens Cave to finish 6th when just weakening close home. A disappointing run at Warwick in heavy conditions (15 started, only 3 finished) followed in December however she returned on New Year’s Day back at Exeter and finished 5th. Although her form is modest and she’s been beaten at long odds so far, she improved last time when doing her best work late on when staying on past beaten rivals. She’ll need another completion over hurdles to get an official mark however she is getting better and is likely to improve for a step up in trip and handicaps. She may only make into a low grade handicapper however she’ll be one to keep on the right side of in modest staying handicap hurdles around the west country tracks.
Tile Tapper (GB) – 6yo Bay Gelding
Breeding: Malinas x Darn Hot (Sir Harry Lewis)
Trainer: Jimmy Frost (Buckfastleigh)
Owner: No Illusions Partnership
BHA Rating: N/A
Jimmy Frost has been a household name in the South West since riding his first winner in a point to point in 1972 at the tender age of just 14. He would go an ride over 500 winners under rules including the 1989 Grand National and 1991 Champion Hurdle. He took over training from his father Richard back in 2001. His best season came in 2005/06 where he trained 21 winners and has been operating consistently in recent years average 5/6 winners a season with his small string of horses with Newton Abbot being his favourite place to have a winner.
Tile Tapper is a fine looking gelding who is a homebred for the No Illusions Partnership. He’s the half-brother to the two time winning handicapper Hot Ryan (Trained by David Pipe). He made his racecourse debut in March in a 4,5&6yo PTP flat race at Milborne St Andrew finishing third behind two nice rivals for local yards. He was switched from Chris Honour’s stable to Frost’s and made his debut in an Exeter bumper in December when beaten only four lengths back in fourth place behind the exciting Picanha. He was a long way behind that day and showed tremendous resolution to overcome traffic problems and still finish fourth. The three in front of him that day look to be above average and his promise was backed up and more on New Year’s Day at Exeter when overcoming another decent field. Although we couldn’t see much of the race, it’s clear this gelding has a fair engine and was staying on well right to the line. He had some well fancied, well regarded rivals in behind and gave his trainer his first bumper winner at the 132nd attempt. It’s great to see Jimmy have a really exciting horse to go to war with for the rest of the season and it’ll be interesting to see how he progresses throughout his career.
Woulduadamandeveit (IRE) – 7yo Bay Gelding
Breeding: Stowaway x Figlette (Darshaan)
Trainer: Sue Gardner (Longdown, Exeter)
Owner: Keith Harris & Tom Gardner
BHA Rating: 102 (Hurdles)
Sue Gardner is always a name to keep an eye on in particular when her runners are at their native Exeter or when they have an away day outside of Devon, if their horses attract market support, you know it’s likely to be a good thing. Alongside her husband Des, they’ve built an excellent racing yard alongside their breeding operation (Woodhayes Stud). It’s a family affair with daughter Lucy taking the ride on the majority of their horses. In recent times, Sue has enjoyed a couple of big days out with the apple of their eye COEUR BLIMEY who took the listed championship flat race at Ascot in December 2015. Trans Express is another stable star who’s 5 course wins at Exeter have all come over 2m2f including winning the same race on the last three occasions that it has been run.
Woulduadamandeveit made an eye catching debut at Stratford back in 2017 before going on to run an absolute blinder in the listed bumper at Cheltenham’s Paddy Power meeting later that year. He was coming with a real rattle before encountering traffic issues and still stayed on to grab third. A heavy defeat followed in a listed bumper at Ascot before running another mighty race on a big day when chasing home Acey Milan in the flat race on Betfair Hurdle day in 2018 beating rivals such as Good Boy Bobby and even Brewin’upastorm. His hurdling career sadly hasn’t lived up to the hype so far of his bumper promise failing to make the frame in his last 6 starts. He was well supported for his handicap debut off a mark of 107 at Uttoxeter before it all went wrong and he bled from the nose. After a long break, he ran flat once more when needing the run at Chepstow in October. He clearly improved for that outing in November when finishing 5th of 12 over 2m3f off a new mark of 103. He’s often shown a tendency to jump left handed and shapes as though a stiff 2m4f or further on a more galloping track will really suit him and providing all of his earlier issues regarding the bleeding are behind him, he should find races well within his grasp of his low mark given
he’s only had three starts in handicap company, he’s still relatively unexposed and he’s beginning to slowly get the hang of things.
Unwin VC (IRE) – 6yo Bay Gelding
Breeding: Black Sam Bellamy x Becky B (Alflora)
Trainer: Bob Buckler (Bridgwater)
Owner: Golden Cap
BHA Rating: 133 (Hurdles)
Bob Buckler has been training racehorses since the 1988-89 jumps season. He’s based at Gibb Hill Farm on the Quantock Hills and has had some very nice horses in his care down the years. SEE ENOUGH delivered Buckler his first big success landing the Rendlesham Hurdle in 1996. His biggest success possibly came when NICHE MARKET landed the 2009 Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse at odds of 33/1, while THE SAWYER delivered Buckler two Grade 3 handicap chases victories in a career which saw him rated well into the 140’s during the peak of his career. In recent times, he’s flagbearer has been REGAL FLOW who took the 2018 Midlands National at Uttoxeter and ran a huge race last Saturday when just touched off in the Veterans Chase final at Sandown Park.
In the shape of Unwin VC, he has the potential to be one of Buckler’s best horses. He’s the frame of a trojan horse, he’s a big boy and was very raw and green on his racecourse debut (Feb 18’) when sensationally did everything wrong before rallying late on to produce an excellent victory. He’d back that promise up with victory in a Wincanton bumper at the end of the 2017/18 season. All of a sudden, the hype was becoming reality. He grew further over that summer and looked big and strong before running in a listed bumper at Cheltenham when ultimately outclassed. A satisfactory hurdle debut followed back at Exeter before a really disappointing display beaten over 70 lengths in a Chepstow maiden hurdle. He then would return to form with a nice 2nd back at Exeter beaten just under a length by Truckers Lodge (who’s finished second in a Welsh National). Since returning this season, he finished fourth in a decent novice hurdle on Haldon Gold Cup day at Exeter before being beaten 15l at Ffos Las on handicap debut. This striking gelding clearly has an obsession with Exeter as he notched up his third career success and second on Haldon Hill when destroying a novice hurdle field on extremely deep ground in December. He really is a big, powerful gelding who’s going to stay all day. It’s a waiting game really until we see him over fences which really will see him at the best of his ability. His trainer really does like this horse and has confirmed he’ll stay over hurdles this season. The ground is probably key to him as he wants it as deep as possible and you wouldn’t be surprised if in a few seasons, you seem him entertaining big, staying handicap chases on soft/heavy ground.
Thank you for reading today’s post. My next post will be a Philip Hobbs’ stable visit and it will be live on Sunday (19th January) at 11am!
See you all then!