Dark horses: Smart Motive

kingyBUMPERS can be trappy affairs but I have a real soft spot for them. Yesterday at Carlisle I saw Donald McCain’s Stonebrook win doing handsprings. You’ll be hearing a lot more about him over the next few seasons. Today’s bumper at Huntingdon is even trickier than normal because it is a Junior bumper for three-year-olds and none of the 10 runners have set foot on a racecourse before.

However I have heard good reports about SMART MOTIVE, trained by Alan King (above). The Motivator gelding has been working nicely. Mad Jack Mytton is the eyecatcher on breeding as he is a half brother to Paddy Power Gold Cup fancy Johns Spirit while Kibo is said to have been working well but may not appreciate the deep ground. I wouldn’t recommend anything more than a small, speculative bet in any bumper, especially in very testing ground like today. But Smart Motive should go well.

Also at Huntingdon, ROYAL GUARDSMAN (2.40) looks absolutely thrown in on his chasing debut. He looked a fabulous prospect as a bumper horse although he didn’t live up to expectations over hurdles. If he takes to fences he should win today and go on to much better things.

It’s taken a while but the Donald McCain-Jason Maguire juggernaut is cranking into gear with eight winners in the past five days. HALO MOON is worth anither chance at Sedgefield today (1.20), He was strongly fancied to win at Uttoxeter last time although the yard’s horses were not in the best of form, and he looked in need of the race. He should be straighter today and they think quite a bit of him.

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