Horse Racing with Jason Hall

THE present outlook for our local trainers is very positive with the majority in winning form throughout the last month and a number with some excellent prospects with which they hope to finish the last couple of months of the season in some style.

The Lewes trainer Suzy Smith has had two winners from her last three runners and in addition she also continued the education of her excellent long term prospect O’Malleys Oscar when that gelding ran with great promise until his keenness in the early part of the race at Folkestone took its toll.

He is very green according to his trainer and she is adamant that with luck he can progress into a good quality individual with the ability to compete at the top courses.

Sheena West found a good opportunity for her juvenile hurdler Mr Muddle recently and he did not let his connections down when recording a decisive victory.

He has an entry in the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton on Saturday and although at first sight a race of Graded class might seem a little beyond him, it is an indication of the regard in which his trainer holds him.

Sheena has also been narrowly denied a couple of wins in the last week with her flat performer Indian Violet and the dual purpose horse Screaming Brave.

The former was narrowly denied for the second time in his last two starts at Lingfield and it is reasonable to suggest that the drop back to a mile today on his return to the Surrey course may suit the five-year-old gelding and procure his third success at the Surrey track.

Screaming Brave is a useful horse who must ideally have good ground and with the spring on its way a return to hurdling after his good all weather effort last time should see him add another win to his record as going conditions improve.

Since Christmas time, the form of Cisswood trainer Gary Moore has been on an upward curve but last week his novice hurdler Megastar suffered a setback to his aspirations for success at the Cheltenham Festival and I asked Gary for his thoughts.

“I was very disappointed. There were a few things that I could point my finger at but I was expecting more.

“He will still go to Cheltenham but I don’t know what race he will run in.”

Megastar has been highly rated by the yard throughout his time there.

It is worth mentioning that even the very best horses are generally beaten at some time in their career and although Megastar may not be a champion he should not be written off as a potentially top class performer of the future.

The ground looks a real factor for this horse and in time we may see the best of him over a trip in excess of two miles as parts of his pedigree suggest.

Bergo made his debut in Dubai last Thursday and Gary commented on his return.

“I was very satisfied with him and he badly needed the run.

“He will improve a lot for it and his next run over there will be on March 10th in what I think is called the Gold Cup.”

The very slow pace and sprint in the straight was totally against Bergo and the benefit of this outing and the likelihood of a strongly run contest next time will show him in a much better light.

Gary confirmed that Sire De Grugy will run in tomorrow’s Grade 2 Dovecote Hurdle.

I expect him to run a big race but he will not go to The Cheltenham Festival regardless of the result.