Jumps trainer: Anthony Honeyball
Anthony Honeyball is well on target to have his best season and has already recorded more wins than in 2018/19, with a Run To Form (RTF) percentage of 71.1. He has had two winners from four runners since the turn of the year, his latest one Sam Brown defying a two-year absence to make a winning start over hurdles at Lingfield. A winner of three of his four starts in bumpers, the eight-year-old looked potentially smart winning by 22 lengths, and connections are entitled to think big with him.
An absolute rout! Sam Brown had some hugely smart bumper form in his younger days, and shrugs off a 750 day absence to bolt up on chase debut under @AidanColeman for @AJHoneyball at @LingfieldPark pic.twitter.com/51fAdfGzHZ— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) January 7, 2020
In the more immediate future, Honeyball has plenty of entries this week, with Kid Commando holding a trio of options. He looked potentially smart when winning a bumper at Fontwell by 18 lengths in November, and this point winner is an interesting recruit to hurdles. He could make his debut at Plumpton, Wincanton or Chepstow this week. He holds two entries over two miles and one over three, but, given the speed he showed in bumpers, connections may want to keep him to the minimum trip for now.
Midnight Callisto was another impressive bumper winner on debut for the yard and, though she wasn’t able to build on that in a listed event at Cheltenham last time, she remains one to be positive about. She will be of interest if taking her chance at Ayr on Thursday in another listed event. Perhaps the most interesting of Honeyball’s entries is Fanfaron Dino, who was strong in the market when finishing runner-up in a bumper on debut at Ffos Las in December. A half-brother to Champion Hurdle favourite Epatante, he is very much bred for jumping and will be an intriguing runner if taking his chance at Wincanton on Thursday.
Flat trainer: Clive Cox
Clive Cox has saddled only two winners so far this year, but his string is operating at an 81.8% RTF ratio. Endowment was his latest winner at Chelmsford on Saturday evening, the three-year-old filly not having to improve to do so, but creating a good impression all the same. She has got some size about her, too, dwarfing the colt and gelding she pulled clear with, and it will be interesting to see how she progresses (not for the first time she flashed her tail).
As with most Flat trainers at this time of year, Cox will not have many runners over the next week - Bobby Wheeler is his sole entry at Wolverhampton on Wednesday. Now a seven-year-old, he has been struggling for form of late, failing to beat a rival home in handicaps at Kempton and Lingfield on his last two starts in November and December. The handicapper has reacted accordingly, however, dropping him to a handicap mark of 80, which is 2 lb lower than his last winning mark. He will have to show a lot more to resume winning ways, but this doesn’t look as competitive as races he is used to contesting, and a better showing would not be a surprise with the yard in a rich vein of form.
Under the radar: Robert Walford
Robert Walford hasn’t got many horses, but he does well with the ones he has, and Our Merlin was a nice winner for the yard at Taunton on Tuesday.
Walford has four entries this week, including Le Boizelo, who could feature in a good-looking handicap chase at Newbury on Wednesday. He took advantage of a reduced mark to win at Sandown last month, and wasn’t disgraced when hitting the frame from a revised mark on heavy ground at Wincanton last time. Another bold show should be on the cards from the same mark. Fu Fu will appreciate the return to three miles if taking her chance at Plumpton on the same day. She was disappointing down in trip at Fontwell last time and, for all she remains a maiden, she lurks on a handy mark at present. The Somerset National takes place at Wincanton on Thursday and Walford has an ideal type for the race in the shape of Moving In Style. He has done little wrong over similar trips the last twice at Haydock and Newbury and he should remain competitive in these types of races.