Horse racing with Jason Hall – hot body of form for local trainers

THE Lewes-based training team of Jim and Tom Best have been in outstanding form and they continued their run when landing a double at Folkestone on Bank Holiday Monday.

Their record since the start of November is 10 winners from 31 runners, which represents a quite exceptional strike rate of about 32 per cent.

The brothers have a superb profile of improving apparently very modest horses into winners, and that reputation was further enhanced when the eight-year-old King Of Castille ran away with a staying event at Folkestone on his first start for the yard.

Acquired for just £2,200 at the November Sales, the gelding is a half brother to Classic Cliche and a number of other black type performers. However, he has never had aspirations as high as those quality flat performers but on Monday’s performance it would appear realistic to expect that he can add to this easy win, be it at a markedly lower grade.

The double was completed when Mangonel dotted up in a four-runner contest and improved his record to three wins from four starts since transferring to the Best stable.

“The ground had to be a concern but she did it well,” said Jim post-race.

“We freshened her up after she ran a bit flat last time. We might look for a seller for her now.”

Mangonel is her owner’s first horse in training and Jack Callaghan is now looking forward to watching his second, Wayward Glance, making his hurdling debut this weekend.

The juvenile has an entry at Sandown and this formerly useful flat stayer is typical of Jim and Tom’s efforts to upgrade the overall quality of their yard.

He was purchased at the Tattersalls October Sale for £40,000 and his pedigree reads nicely as a son of Sadlers Wells out of a mare by Daylami.

Bred by The Queen, jumping was probably not to the forefront of her aspirations for the mating but hopes have to be high for his new connections as he embarks on his new career.

To take Wayward Glance to a Grade One course such as Sandown for his introduction to timber suggests that he is working with promise at home and extending the hopes they had for him when paying the purchase price to take him from his former trainer Michael Bell.

Good luck to all with that project.

Elsewhere, the Sussex National was held at Plumpton on Monday and the feature race on the course’s annual calendar was won by the old stager Double Dizzy.

An incident-packed race resulted in just three finishers and the winner’s trainer, Bob Buckler, was delighted afterwards.

“He has a mind of his own but I always thought he had a nice race like this in him,” he said.

“I was worried when he went to the front so early but it all worked out fine. I’m delighted.”

Alan King improved his Plumpton record when recording a winning double with his two runners and suggested Kumbeshwar was more of a Grand Annual horse than an Arkle type should he make it to the Cheltenham Festival in March.

The young chaser produced an impressive round of jumping to see off his one serious rival and is now qualified for the Cheltenham Bonus of £60,000 offered by Plumpton through their qualifying series.

Although well beaten by Kumbeshwar on the day, Criqtonic provided plenty of promise on his UK debut.

“He will definitely benefit from the run and should also benefit from better ground and a step up in trip.” were the comments post race of Paul Nicholls pupil assistant Tom Jonasson.

He could prove progressive in the months ahead.