Get back to work. The fearless steeplechase handicappers at TIHR go to bat once again with two meets on tap Saturday – in Georgia and Maryland.
If you're keeping score at home, Joe leads with seven winners, Tom is second with six and Sean third with five from 22 races.
Atlanta Steeplechase. If you’re going, it’s a long way from Atlanta but a cool day out in Kingston (also near Rome), Ga. Five races headed by a $30,000 stakes for fillies and mares. That should be a good one with several talented lasses signed on.
First Race. Maiden claiming hurdle. Tough to separate some of these as there are no standouts and maiden-claiming handicapping always begs the question: is experience necessarily a good thing?
Joe: Artic Cry, Three Hundred, Apse.
Sean: Three Hundred, Artic Cry, Apse.
Tom: Apse, Three Hundred, Papa Carlos.
Second Race. Maiden hurdle with several who make you stop and look. Got to love the pedigree power – A.P. Indy and Dynaformer represented on sire side and million-dollar earner Island Sand is dam of Martini Brother.
Joe: Martini Brother, Imaspeedguy, Syros.
Sean: Martini Brother, Syros, King Ting.
Tom: Martini Brother, King Ting, Imaspeedyguy.
Third Race. Fillies and mares go in the feature, a $30,000 open stakes for the distaff set. Kisser N Run looks like a good one, but she’ll get tested by Irish import The Grey Express, who tuned up with flat win at Camden. Classy Quiet Flaine, Well Fashioned, Cubist, Maya Charli represent the old guard.
Joe: The Grey Express, Kisser N Run, Quiet Flaine.
Sean: The Grey Express, Kisser N Run, Well Fashioned.
Tom: Cubist, Well Fashioined, The Grey Express.
Fourth Race. Solid optional claimer shows real depth in jump game (good sign). Recent maiden winners Ahgogo, Powerofone and Pleasant Woodman tangle with veterans Sir Dynamite, Cuse and Pullyourfingerout. Tough call.
Joe: Powerofone, Pleasant Woodman, Ahgogo.
Sean: Pullyourfingerout, Powerofone, Ahgogo.
Tom: Pullyourfingerout, Pleasant Woodman, Powerofone.
Fifth Race. Training flat including stakes winner Lake Placid and another live one (Alburj) from the master of these races, Janet Elliot.
Joe: Alburj, Lake Placid, Awesome Pearl.
Sean: Alburj, Lake Placid, Awesome Pearl.
Tom: Alburj, Lake Placid, Awesome Pearl.
My Lady’s Manor. The timber season gets cranked up for real with the first of three major stops in Maryland in April. Feature looks like a good race, plus some interesting maidens in action.
First Race. The Manor. History, jumping, a mix of hills and flat straights make for grand race and big test. Bon Caddo won two years ago. Grinding Speed looks like budding star. Straight To It might be the fastest.
Joe: Grinding Speed, Bon Caddo, Straight To It.
Sean: Grinding Speed, Bon Caddo, Straight To It.
Tom: Grinding Speed, Straight to It, Bon Caddo.
Second Race. Maiden timber with big field. Newcomer On The Corner could give trainer Alicia Murphy a big day. Old Timer brings some flat class. Alfa Beat, starter in 2012 English Grand National, could be rounding into form.
Joe: On The Corner, Old Timer, Mojave Moose.
Sean: Alfa Beat, Worried Man, Mojave Moose.
Tom: Dr. Bloomer, Almarmooq, Worried Man.
Third Race. Another maiden, featuring a rare timber starter for Jonathan Sheppard in Lead Us Not. Sheppard won his first U.S. jump race at the Manor more than 40 years ago.
Joe: Terko Service, Lead Us Not, Raven’s Choice.
Sean: Raven's Choice, Herons Well, Terko Service.
Tom: Lead Us Not, Ebanour, Raven's Choice.
Fourth Race. The old-timers clash in the amateur allowance timber. Woodmont won this last year and returns for new connections.
Joe: Sand Box Rules, Woodmont, Justpourit.
Sean: Woodmont, Sand Box Rules, Atrium.
Tom: Sand Box Rules, Justpourit, Woodmont.
For Entries, see National Steeplechase Association.