21 Dec Sam Spinner a real northern light
Photo: Grossick Racing Photography
A POTENTIALLY famous four-some, including the amazing Sam Spinner, could make a big impression in 2018…
DEFINITLY RED (Brian Ellison): His performance in winning the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree felt like a turning point in the career of this likeable chaser. It proved he is a genuine graded competitor. Talk afterwards was of Gold Cups and Bowls rather than handicaps. Saying that, Brian Ellison has mentioned the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster as the likely next target. As well as being one of the most commonly misspelt horses, he also goes down as one of the unluckiest Grand National runners.
Danny Cook was forced to pull him up in April when the tack slipped following a melee at Becher’s Brook. The Grand National in 2018 has re-entered calculations although the Cheltenham Gold Cup might be more realistic. After all, the Gold Cup picture is somewhat muddled. The Bowl at Aintree could be the perfect race for this horse who does not like tacky ground (although he acts on heavy).
WAITING PATIENTLY (Malcolm Jefferson): This horse looked like a Rolls-Royce of a novice chaser last season. He won three races events on the bounce and the form of his victory over Politologue at Haydock now looks fantastic. He has recently had a few niggles that have kept him off the racecourse. But connections say he should be out before the end of January. He he is a horse who could really put the Jefferson yard on the map. The Ryanair Chase looks an obvious target but the Grade One Melling Chase at Aintree could suit even more.
Sam Spinner the bargain buy
LAKE VIEW LAD (Nick Alexander): I got it wrong with this horse. I thought he could make a very decent two-mile or two-and-a-half mile chaser when he was a young hurdler. But he showed he has reserves of stamina with a fluent success at Newcastle over 3m on Fighting Fifth day. That was only his fourth race over fences but he jumped like an old hand. It was a mature display. Lake View Lad was third in the Tommy Whittle but that may have come too soon after Newcastle. I think he is better than that.
SAM SPINNER (Jedd O Keeffe): The staying hurdling division is in a state of flux. The tragic death of Nichols Canyon and recent defeats for Unowhatimeanharry mean there is no real outstanding candidate. However, at Ascot in the Long Walk Hurdle on December 23, Sam Spinner emerged as a genuine candidate for the Stayers’ Hurdle crown at the Cheltenham Festival. Based at Jedd O’Keeffe’s yard on the outskirts of marvellous Middleham, Sam Spinner made all the running and shrugged off the fleetest of challenges by L’Ami Serge. There were shades of Night Nurse as he fended off challengers from the front, plus he is so tough. The fact his trainer and rider Joe Colliver have fought back from adversity only adds to the Sam Spinner fairytale. The dream lives on that this £12,000 bargain from a small northern yard can conquer the big boys at Cheltenham.