paul fer­gu­son

Proud North­erner Paul Fer­gu­son with some of his favourite lo­cal tal­ent

Racing Ahead - - CONTENTS -

Fer­gie’s North­ern horses to fol­low in the Na­tional Hunt sea­son

I’ve read plenty on so­cial me­dia of late about the lack of North­ern based horses in the numer­ous lists of horses to fol­low for the forth­com­ing Na­tional Hunt sea­son. So, I thought I’d pro­duce an­other 10 – nine of which fea­ture in

Jumpers To Fol­low I must add – who should be worth fol­low­ing in the months ahead. ALL HAIL CAE­SAR (Re­becca Men­zies) A four-year-old by Nathaniel, All Hail Cae­sar was pitched in deep on his race­course de­but by Becky Men­zies, con­test­ing the bumper that con­cludes the Scot­tish Grand Na­tional meet­ing at Ayr. He moved well for a long way un­der Henry Brooke and was beaten just 11 lengths in the end, by the ex­cit­ing Se­bastopol, who fea­tured among last month’s Ten To Fol­low.

All Hail Cae­sar is prob­a­bly more than ca­pa­ble of win­ning a bumper be­fore he switches to hur­dles and given his pedi­gree, he might be at his best on a rel­a­tively de­cent sur­face. AYE RIGHT (Har­riet Gra­ham) Hav­ing won a bumper and shaped with prom­ise in a cou­ple of starts over hur­dles last sea­son, Aye Right has been out nice and early this term, record­ing two vic­to­ries at Kelso. The five-yearold is a pow­er­ful gal­loper who jumps very well and though life will be tougher from now as he ei­ther goes up in grade or car­ries a dou­ble-penalty, he re­mains a nice long-term prospect. Hand­i­caps will also be con­sid­ered for Har­riet Gra­ham’s Yeats geld­ing and he is one to look for­ward to over fences in 12 months’ time. BLACK PI­RATE (James Ewart) An­other who ran in the bumper at Ayr on Scot­tish Grand Na­tional day, Black Pi­rate fin­ished run­ner-up to Se­bastopol un­der a dou­ble-penalty and rates a smart prospect for James Ewart. From the fam­ily of Hobbs Hill, the six-year-old had ear­lier won a brace of bumpers in tak­ing fash­ion. He put up a re­ally good per­for­mance on heavy ground on de­but at Wetherby, win­ning what ap­peared quite a strong race, be­fore fol­low­ing up in a much less com­pet­i­tive af­fair at Ayr. A for­mer win­ning Pointer, he should make a big im­pact in novice hur­dles and is clearly ver­sa­tile in terms of ground. I’M TO BLAME (Keith Dal­gleish) Two from two in bumpers last sea­son, I’m To Blame scored at Cat­t­er­ick on de­but – beat­ing sub­se­quent win­ners Go­ing Gold and Re­turn Ticket – be­fore fol­low­ing up un­der a penalty at Mus­sel­burgh. A five-year-old by Winged Love, he moved well on both oc­ca­sions and prob­a­bly won with more in hand than the of­fi­cial mar­gin might sug­gest last time.

Bred to stay a bit fur­ther, he looks more than ca­pa­ble of adding to his tally once switched to hur­dles in the up­com­ing weeks. NORTH­ERN SOUL (Ruth Jef­fer­son) The first of two nice young­sters in the care of trainer Ruth Jef­fer­son, North­ern Soul won a Mar­ket Rasen bumper at the se­cond time of ask­ing and looks the type who could im­prove a fair bit for over hur­dles over an ex­tra half-mile. Re­port­edly in need of a de­cent sur­face, the five-year-old is a Pre­sent­ing half­brother to At­taglance, who com­pleted the Chel­tenham and Ain­tree dou­ble in 2012 for the Jef­fer­son yard. A more gal­lop­ing track should suit, so keep an eye out for him at some­where like Wetherby or Don­caster. POGUE (Don­ald McCain) I thought I would in­clude one ‘dark horse’ who has yet to race un­der Rules and I’ve plumped for Don­ald McCain’s Pogue, who cre­ated a re­ally good im­pres­sion when win­ning a maiden Point-to-Point at Old­cas­tle in May. A mis­take at the last prob­a­bly cost him on de­but, but he made amends in no un­cer­tain terms next time, run­ning out a 10-length win­ner and the grey son of Stow­away is yet an­other to note in the

novice hur­dle di­vi­sion. RE­TURN TICKET (Ruth Jef­fer­son) The ob­vi­ous horse to in­clude for the ‘North’ would have been the un­beaten chaser Wait­ing Pa­tiently, who could eas­ily be the shin­ing light for the re­gion once again this term. It is very much hoped that Ruth Jef­fer­son’s seven-year-old re­turns to ac­tion in the same sort of form that saw him run away with the Grade 1 As­cot Chase in Fe­bru­ary, af­ter which he was side-lined for the re­main­der of the sea­son. He would have been too ob­vi­ous, how­ever, but the same con­nec­tions have an­other nice prospect to look for­ward to, in the shape of Re­turn Ticket, who won on his hur­dling de­but at Ayr dur­ing May. The five-year-old son of Get­away had ear­lier won a bumper on his se­cond start – third be­hind the afore­men­tioned I’m To Blame on de­but – in im­pres­sive fash­ion at Cat­t­er­ick and he looks to pos­sess plenty of speed, so ex­pect to see him kept to the min­i­mum trip for the time be­ing. An­other who wants de­cent ground, he could be out fairly early be­fore be­ing given a mid­sea­son break. UN­CLE ALAS­TAIR (Nicky Richards) The win­ner of two bumpers the sea­son be­fore last, Un­cle Alas­tair was a faller on his hur­dles de­but at Ayr, af­ter which he rat­tled up a hat-trick in novice hur­dles, for Nicky Richards and the Rooney’s. Slightly dis­ap­point­ing in a com­pet­i­tive three-run­ner race at New­cas­tle (al­beit he was con­ced­ing 4lbs to --two nice horses) the son of Mid­night Leg­end went on to fin­ish a sound third on his hand­i­cap de­but at Ayr, and he might well im­prove once again now he goes over fences. The six-year-old rel­ishes deep ground and looks a nice stay­ing hand­i­cap chaser down the line; in the mean­time, he ought to win his share in the novice di­vi­sion. UP­PER­TOWN PRINCE (Don­ald McCain) An­other smart novice chase prospect, Up­per­town Prince im­pressed me more than once last sea­son, no­tably on his de­but for Don­ald McCain and Tim Les­lie, when scor­ing com­fort­ably at the trainer’s lo­cal track, Ban­gor-OnDee. Af­ter a cou­ple of sec­onds, he won a weak race at Ayr be­fore run­ning a sound race be­hind San­tini (4th) in the Grade 1 Sefton at Ain­tree. A for­mer win­ning Ir­ish pointer, the six-year-old ap­peals as the type to im­prove now he goes chas­ing and he should take high rank in that di­vi­sion in the North. He’s quick enough to win over 2m4f be­fore go­ing back up to 3m. WIND­SOR AV­ENUE (Brian El­li­son) A half-brother to the same con­nec­tions’ Raven­hill Road – who, it is hoped, will bounce back to form him­self in novice chase com­pany – Wind­sor Av­enue won a cou­ple of bumpers last sea­son and looks an­other to note in north­ern novice hur­dles. An Ir­ish Points win­ner be­fore be­ing pur­chased for £65,000 last De­cem­ber, the Winged Love sixyear-old scored at Sedge­field on his de­but un­der Rules, be­fore fol­low­ing up in a three-run­ner race at Carlisle. He won in a can­ter on that oc­ca­sion – even­tu­ally scor­ing by 24 lengths – and the run­ner-up ad­ver­tised the form by win­ning a novice hur­dle at War­wick in early-Oc­to­ber. Wind­sor Av­enue looks a stayer in the mak­ing and has raced ex­clu­sively on test­ing ground to date.

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