Two interesting jumping recruits at Wetherby on Wednesday
Alan might well head off to Wetherby on Wednesday, as he has two interesting recruits from the Flat making their jumping debut, both part-owned by his good friend Max McNeill.
Spartan Army is a four-year-old, who has joined the Barbury team from Joseph O’Brien. He only raced three times on the Flat but won at Down Royal in June, and he is a big horse who relishes getting his toe in, so he never showed his true potential for Joseph, with Ireland, like the UK, experiencing their driest summer for years.
Alan said:”We bought Spartan Army in August (Max shares him with Patrick&scott Bryceland) and we had him gelded straight away with a view to hurdling. He has schooled extremely well and was very progressive on the Flat, so we are looking forward to getting him started.”
Wetherby is a track which should suit Spartan Army, who was never going to be at his best around Down Royal. With the trip that day being only an extended mile and a quarter, Spartan Army, who has plenty of stamina in his pedigree, was sensibly ridden from the front and he showed plenty of tenacity to beat off his challengers from the two-furlong pole.
Whereas Spartan Army is rated 86 on the Flat, Dickens, who Max owns in partnership with Niall Farrell, has a mark of 77, being more exposed on the level, having raced 11 times and won at Wolverhampton and Nottingham.
Alan said:”After Chelmsford in June, Dickens had an early holiday as the ground became too firm for him, and he has thrived for a proper break. He, too, has schooled well and easier underfoot conditions will suit him.”