Horse Racing with Jason Hall

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SUSSEX trainer Gary Moore has had a bit of a slow time of things this season with his jumpers but the return of Orzare at Ascot last weekend has brightened his outlook for the second half of the campaign.

The six-year-old gelding finished third in a decent handicap at the Berkshire venue and between the final two hurdles the son of Montjeu staked a big claim for success in the race before a final flight blunder and the lack of recent match practice took its toll in the latter stages.

Orzare is a full brother to Montare who was a multiple Group winner on the flat and counts a victory in the Group One Prix Royal Oak amongst those wins.

That shows the quality of the pedigree of Gary Moore’s charge and this relatively unexposed horse gives his trainer great optimism for the future.

“I was very pleased with him on Saturday,” said Gary earlier this week.

“He doesn’t have a chance of getting in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury but there is another race for him at Ascot shortly afterwards and that is where he will go next all being well.

“He has a bit of class about him.”

I also spoke with the Lewes trainer Jim Best recently and he was adamant that his juvenile hurdler, Wayward Glance, is still a young horse with a future – despite his relatively disappointing hurdles debut at Wetherby on Monday.

He said: “He didn’t translate his homework – which has been fantastic – to the track.

“I think he might have been a bit distracted by everything going on around him and he never seemed to be travelling.

“Young horses like him can do that and their performances can be erratic early on.

“I will give him a bit of time before his next run but am confident there is much more to come from him and he will leave Wetherby behind him in time.”

The trainer also spoke of another horse in his care who he expects to run at Uttoxeter on Saturday and who he thinks is near the top of the pecking order at the stable.

“We really fancied Western High to win his bumper at Towcester and he got the job done. He is a horse we have high hopes for and the race on Saturday looks a good place to start over hurdles. He will get two and a half miles in time but we think he has the speed for the race at Uttoxeter.”

The Jevington trainer Anna Newton-Smith has a nice young mare in her care by the name of Knight Flight and she has given her an entry at Fontwell today and also at Folkestone on Tuesday.

Although her dam Punnetts Town was a little bit temperamental according to some reports, Anna speaks very well of her offspring’s outlook and character: “Knight Flight is very straightforward and honest. I think the handicapper has been fair in his assessment of her. Although I think Folkestone will suit her better than Fontwell, I will make a judgement on what is in each race and make a decision on which race she runs in from there.

“I think this is a mare with a race or two in her.”

So if all goes well, it would appear that there is the prospect of a few winners coming up for the local racing fraternity in the weeks ahead.

An encouraging note on which to end is that it would appear, despite the trials and tribulations regarding the regulation of racing in the UK, that the sport itself has never been more popular with the total annual racecourse attendance exceeding 6,150,000 for the first time in 2011.