WE SEND FOUR TO NEWCASTLE ON SATURDAY.
The ground could ride on the fast side of good on Saturday, where at the time of writing, it is predicted to be good/good to firm in places, and they are watering to maintain.
Stormin Norman is up first in the two and a half miles novice hurdle at 1.15.pm. Stormin Norman already owes nobody anything, as he is the winner of six races, a bumper, a hurdle, and four flat races, but for the first time in his career showed a quirky side at Newcastle last month. Something must have caught his eye, as at the fourth hurdle he swerved sharply right, and nearly ran out, but he still ran on once Conor O'Farrell got his feet back in the irons, to finish sixth. Hopefully that occurrence will be a one off, as Stormin Norman is a very talented performer, with an off rating of 121. With amateurs able to ride again, Stormin Norman will be reunited with Becky Smith, who has already won four races on him.
We have two runners in the 4.45.pm, a 0-100 handicap hurdle over two and a half miles. Excalibur makes a quick return to the track just seven days after finishing fifth at Carlisle. He is now back down to 77, the mark he last won off in November 2019 at Sedgefield. Whether he will appreciate a faster surface is open to question, as he has never ran for us when the word soft hasn't appeared in the going. Alain Cawley who hasn't ridden him since December 2018, takes the ride.
Our other runner in the race is Kisumu who has no fast ground worries, as some of his better efforts have come on a good to firm surface. Even so he races from 2lb out of the weights, he will still race from his lowest ever mark of 71, with the added bonus of Joe Williamson taking off a further 7lb.
In Division 2 of the handicap hurdle at 5.30.pm, we run Ballycrystal who is also proven on good ground, and will be reunited with Becky Smith who was on board when he finished a good second at Sedgefield last September. Another good effort was his third in a jumpers bumper at Newcastle in February, but in between those two good efforts he has disappointed twice, including last time at Market Rasen.
To keep up to date with all the latest happenings at Oakwood Stables, and Sharp Hill, click on 'NEWS' at www.mickyhammondracing.
Good luck to the connections, The Monday Club, Tasker-Brown & Partners, M H O G, and A & S Associates.