Perth preview: Jack Steel holds solid claims
Jack Steel can take advantage of what looks a handy mark to make a winning return to action in the 2m handicap hurdle on today’s card at Perth (16.25).
The gelding won a point in Ireland, and shaped with plenty of promise in three spins over hurdles when joining trainer Lucinda Russell at the start of last season.
Five-year-old Jack Steel caught the eye in no uncertain fashion in the last of those when third of nine to Midnight Monty at Newcastle.
After being held-up at the rear, Jack Steel made good headway travelling strongly four from home before keeping on under hands and heels to be beaten five lengths.
It was an effort which suggested he was being brought along with handicaps in mind, and that view was confirmed when Jack Steel ran a cracker to finish a four length third of 14 in a competitive class 3 at Ayr off an opening mark of 108.
Jack Steel travelled powerfully on the heels of the leaders and held every chance until being unable to find any extra approaching the last.
The son of Craigsteel is now able to race in this lower grade class 4 affair off just 1lb higher, and Jack Steel’s current mark of 109 looks very exploitable given that he remains unexposed and open to bags more improvement.
With the in-form Tom Scudamore in the saddle, Jack Steel looks weighted to take all the beating in the famous green and gold colours of owner JP McManus.
In the 2m 7f novices’ hurdle (14.45), Ballywilliam is taken to make his eagerly awaited debut over the obstacles a winning one.
The gelding finished runner-up in an Irish point before joining trainer David Pipe, and looked a very smart prospect when winning a bumper at Chepstow on debut for the Pond House handler.
Ballywilliam made all and cruised clear to win easing down by 12 lengths, and it was a performance which suggested the five-year-old had a big future and needed keeping firmly onside.
The son of Mahler is a half-brother to fairly useful hurdler Be Bop Boru, and Ballywilliam can take this before going on to better things.
14.45: Ballywilliam (NB)
15.20: Cyrus Darius
15.50: Johnny Go
16.25: Jack Steel (NAP)
17.00: Quito Du Tresor
17.30: Wicked Willy