John Quinn, who has few peers when it comes to transferring Flat horses to hurdling, sends a potentially smart recruit to Catterick today as he aims to continue his excellent run of form.
The Norton trainer sent out two winners on Saturday, one on the Flat at Wolverhampton, and a much more notable one at Doncaster in Kashmir Peak, who made it two from two over hurdles in the Grade 2 Summit Hurdle, a victory which showcased his potential as a leading hope for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
That race was won by Quinn memorably last year with Countrywide Flame, now a Champion Hurdle contender.
This afternoon, O Ma Lad makes his debut for Quinn in the yorkshire-outdoors.co.uk Novices’ Hurdle with Dougie Costello on board.
Previously trained by Sylvester Kirk on the Flat, O Ma Lad developed into quite a decent handicapper, rated in the 80s. Quinn paid 30,000 guineas for him at Tattersalls Sales at Newmarket in October.
The four-year-old promises to do well over hurdles and this race looks ideal to start. He is not to be underestimated.
Malcolm Jefferson, Quinn’s neighbour, also has good prospects of a winner with Pair Of Jacks in the Racing Again on 28th December National Hunt Race.
The four-year-old shaped well on his debut at Towcester a couple of months ago, going down by only half a length to Neston Grace. He should have learned plenty from that experience and is fancied to go one better.
Fentara should go well for Sheriff Hutton trainer Tim Walford in the Buy Your 2013 Annual Badge Today Handicap Chase.
Three-times a winner over hurdles, the seven-year-old mare is beginning to get her act together over fences and was beaten only two lengths by Red Rocco at Newcastle last time after relishing the step up to three miles.
Fentara faces a potentially tough rival in Ballyoliver, a winner at the beginning of the month for Venetia Williams, but the North Yorkshire runner may just have enough to bag the win.
Flora’s Pride (12.40), a previous winner on this course and Sacre Toi (2.40), a Scottish raider, trained by James Ewart, are two others to note.
York-based jockey Robert Winston, keeping busy on the all-weather circuit this winter, makes the long journey to Lingfield, where he can secure the opening honours aboard nap selection Temple Road (12.00).
Milton Bradley’s sprinter won nicely in a classified event at Kempton last time. This is tougher, back into handicap company, but he is expected to go well.
You’re The Boss makes a welcome return to the track for Newmarket trainer Ed Walker, who must have been pleased with this juvenile’s debut effort at his local course back in May when he finished a close-up third in maiden company.
Something presumably went amiss with You’re The Boss after that race, because he has not reappeared since. He remains, however, an interesting horse, and Jamie Spencer’s booking on his comeback looks a good one.
12.10 Saroque, 12.40 Flora’s Pride, 1.10 O Ma Lad, 1.40 Fentara, 2.10 Stagecoach Jasper, 2.40 Sacre Toi, 3.10 Pair Of Jacks.
Today’s other meetings: Folkestone and Lingfield.
12.00 Temple Road (NAP), 12.30 Whiskey Junction, 1.00 Nashville, 1.30 Iridescence, 2.00 You’re The Boss, 2.35 Bert The Alert, 3.10 Kaafel, 3.40 The Wonga Coup.
Tomorrow’s other meetings: Kempton, Ludlow and Newbury.