Tuesday, 31 July 2007

July 31 Perth (good, good to soft in places)

The flight in the back straight was missed out as at the previous meeting. I presume there is a rule that means hurdles are in a set position, as it would make sense just to move the hurdle.

6.30 2m 4.5f Maiden hurdle

I misjudged this race as I thought it would be between Pouilly and Jim The Gent. In the event JIM THE GENT pulled a bit early on and though leading two out, couldn't resist the challenge of DRIVERSFORD, who had made a promising debut in Ireland. The latter should go on from this, while JIM THE GENT may need slightly firmer ground, and he certainly wasn't inconvenienced by the longer trip.
POUILLY was hampered on the bend before three out but still threatened two out, only to fade. He's bred to be a staying chaser.
BEAUFOY went well to between the last two hurdles and was left behind by the first and second.

7.00 2m 4.5f Selling Handicap Hurdle

BLACK CHALK, a winning chaser, led at a decent pace but was found wanting in the straight. Worth watching back over fences.
BAMBY hadn't shown much previously but won this with any amount in hand and looks better than selling class.
FLOWER HAVEN ran well enough but couldn't get near the winner, and NAMED AT DINNER stayed past a couple over the last two.

7.30 3m Handicap Chase

Another fine performance by the in-form veteran MIGHTY FINE. Leading at a decent pace, he had half of these struggling very early and was clear entering the straight. In the end he ran out of steam on the run-in, but still found a little more to hold on from TOM SAYERS, but the two were well clear of the rest. MIGHTY FINE's credentials are there for all to see, and TOM SAYERS won't come up against such a tough opponent regularly.
The Johnson owned pair ITSMYBOY and COMMERCIAL EXPRESS were out the back for a long way but stayed on up the straight. The latter ran well considering his hike in the weights.

*** Sad postscript to the story is that the gallant performer MIGHTY FINE collapsed and died after the race.

8.00 3m 0.5f Handicap Hurdle

An ordinary staying event run at a gentle pace.

BARRACAT led for a long way but dropped away in the straight. He was in good form last winter, if inconsistent, but seems to be struggling a little now.
EL BANDINDOS was having only his fifth run, so might have more scope than the rest here. He stayed on very well and I would expect this one to follow up. THE RIGHT PEOPLE did nothing wrong in second and will be competitive in similar contests. The remainder basically plodded.
PANTHERS RUN showed some promise here in a novice event last time, but seems to have two ways of running.

8.30 2m 4.5f Novice Handicap Chase

GUNSON HIGHT won a chase at Hexham but fell last time. This time he whacked the first, rider lost his irons and the horse ran out. He's got ability but hisjumping is dicey at the moment.
LAWAAHEB led to 4 out and then weakened.
RUSSIAN SKY disputed the lead for a long way but faded in the straight. He often flatters to deceive and is one to oppose.
MISTER MAGNUM was badly hampered by KNOW THE ROPES on the run-in, but battled back determinedly. The winnere shows the right attitude and is at the right end of the handicap. KNOW THE ROPES got tired and hung towards the rail, but performed well enough.

9.00 2m 0.5f Handicap Hurdle

This looked a competitive event.

SUPPLY AND FIX took them along at a decent pace, was headed on the flat and only beaten a length. His rider, Jennifer Kidd, is a useful amateur, but was outridden in the straight. I reckon SUPPLY AND FIX can make amends if professionally handled or if aimed at an amateur hurdle.
GO FIGURE battled well to dead heat, has only had five races, is at the right end of the handicap and should in again.
GOLD GUN looked to have done neough only to be joined right on the line.
Form looks strong.

Friday, 20 July 2007

July 19 Hamilton (Good to soft)

I was at the meeting as part of my company's corporate hospitality do, so possibly didn't pay as much attention as I might normally have done. Yours truly, representing 'downstairs' I managed 2 winners out of 7 races (two selections in each race!) beating 'Keith from upstairs' who only managed one. The fact that both of landed long odds-on Loulwa, it was a bit like winning a penalty shoot-out 2-1 after 7 attempts each!

2.20 5f 2yo Maiden Auction

Newcomer ANOSTI won this readily, going clear in the final furlong. In the paddock I reckoned there was still a bit to work on with this one so I'd expect improvement. It'll be interesting to see how she's campaigned, as I believe she's in a couple of sales races. In the short term I would certainly be interested if she were aimed at a nursery.

ELIJAH PEPPER led until 1 out, hanging right, but kept on well for second place. STORM JOURNEY improved on previous form in third challenged the second to the line.

RED DELIGHT was badly outpaced from the start, but picked up nicely up the hill and kept on well, She'd been staying on over 6f at Thirsk, so a longer trip will see her to better advantage.

2.50 6f Claimer

SPIRITUAL PEACE hadn't looked madly keen on occasions. He did enough to hold on from REGAL RAIDER in what looked a very moderate event. The latter might be suited by a return to 7 furlongs.
THE SALWICK FLYER showed good pace and kept for third. All the more remarkable considering he'd unshipped her rider on the way to start and run 3 furlongs back past the stands. He still wasn't settled going down, but improved on previous form, so a lowly handicap or seller would seem at his mercy.
THROW THE DICE showed good pace to lead until 1 out. A drop back to five furlongs may help.

3.25 1m 65yds Handicap

IGNITION put a poor run at Musselburgh behind her, she was badly drawn there, setting a steady pace and increasing the gallop to hold on up the hill. LOCAL POET had every chance a furlong out, but the step up to the extended mile was probably a little too much. He's in good form and back at 6 or 7 furlongs would have every chance of picking up a race.
HOWARD'S ROCKET has huge feet which might suggest soft ground suits. Maybe it had dried a bit too much as he couldn't raise the tempo in the last furlong.
Maiden MANDARIN ROCKET had been in good form but fell away tamely up the hill.
JABRAAN held a chance on stands' side 2 out, but didn't get to the leaders, and this could be as good as he is.
NORTHERN DESERT looked in very good nick, but pulled hard early and didn't get to the leaders. I suspect he needs more of a gallop.

4.00 6f Handicap
Irish challenger RICHELIEU was last until 300 yards out, and had to come right round the field to challenge MOZAKRHAF. In the event the former couldn't any nearer than a neck behind the winner, but his Irish form looks very sound and he looks sure to figure in similar events. MOZAKRHAF showed plenty of determination when the chips were down.
JOYEAUX kept on well enough but that looks about as good as he is off this mark.
GEORGE THE BEST was upped in class, and kept on well in the final furlong. He seems generally in good heart and a drop in class again should see him pick up a race.
BRUT showed good pace but faded from a furlong out.

4.35 1m 5f Handicap

Perth hurdle winner BALAKAR led in the final furlong and looked sure to win. Meanwhile some way back......outsider ATLANTIC COAST was detached and Royston Ffrench stoking the coal big time at the 3 furlong pole, and was still last 2 out. The horse then took off, hanging toward the stands' rail, zoomed past the rest and won with a degree of comfort. He clearly has plenty of ability, but I think I'd want to see him run again before risking money. He might just be be value to oppose if coming out under a penalty. All credit to his rider for persevering when some might have called it a day.
The 11yo BALAKAR is probably running out of opportunities and really doesn't need these sneaky tricks from the youngsters.
GOLDEN GROOM ran an honest enough race from 4lbs out of the handicap in third.
QAASI made progress 2 out to threaten but could find no more. THEY ALL LAUGHED had every chance but didn't quite get the leaders and faded in the final furlong.
PEINTRE'S WONDER looked sure to be suited by this longer trip, but didn't threaten to get involved at any point.
RIGHTFUL RULER led till the intersection of the loop then folded.

5.10 1m 3f Maiden

LOULWA was expeccted to win this with a lot in hand, but in the event had to be kept up to her work to hold off the determined LOCHIEL. The winner's connection be chuffed to have got a win into here, and will presumably line up a sterner test. LOCHIEL is now qualified for handicaps and certainly seems to have the right attitude.
STAR OF ANGELS led until 2 out and plugged on to finish well clear of the remainder who quite frankly look slow. Newcomer BEAUTY SHINE ran green up the straight and did at least pass a couple close home, but needs to show more to be competitive.

5.10 1m 3f Aparentice Handicap

RARE COINCIDENCE made the running and showed excellent determination to hold off RELOCATION. Unfortunately ENGLISH ARCHER picked up well from fourth and overtook both in the shadow of the post, much to the delight of a couple of our party who each won a decent sum. Mark Brisbourne normally knows what to do with this sort of horse, and ENGLISH ARCHER clearly has ability so might be worth watching out for in low class staying handicaps.
THE PEN wasn't far back in fourth and will probably be capable of picking up another race.
KID'Z'PLAY was presumably just a 'schoolmaster' here and is basically a jumper these days.
TWILIGHT AVENGER was very slow.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

July 15 Perth (Good)

The going was good, with good to soft patches on the chase course. The two days of last meeting were abandoned and I suspect there were a few false patches of gorund, as the flight on the far side was omitted in the hurdles.

A crowd in the region of 10,000 witnessed a competitive card on that rarity this summer, a warm and sunny day!

2.10 16.5f Maiden Hurdle

Irish import HARCAS raced prominently, led 3 out and stayed on up the straight. He held off FIT TO FLY , the latter just pipping JIM THE GENT for second. All three look reasonable prospects. JORDANS ELECT was close up in fourth looks a big strong type and I'm sure will learn from the experience here. The one fly in the ointment could be the proximity of the exposed GAPPERSONNELDOTCOM in fifth.

JIM THE GENT was in my list of horses to follow. He's coming along nicely and the way he stayed suggests a longer distance will do him no harm. He won a couple of bumpers on good to firm last year, so slightly faster ground wouldn't be a hindrance.

Graham Lee , rider of Jordan's Elect, reported the ground as "very patchy".

2.40 2m 4.5f Novices' Chase

CAIPIROSKA led at a decent pace, but ran of puff when headed 4 out and was last of the four to finish. He's likely to have better opportunities agianst lesser opposition in handicaps.
COMMERCIAL EXPRESS is in a decent vein of form. He looked very fit in the parade ring. looked destined to take the race comfortably unitl making a hash of two out. Timmy Murphy pulled him back together to overtake CONTACT DANCER on the run-in.

TICKATEAL took over 4 out, but didn't find a lot between the last two. He could be one who needs the race to fall his way, and quicker ground may be a help.

The remainder struggled to get into the race and all pulled up.

3.10 2m 4.5f Novices' Hurdle

MIDDLETON DENE caught my eye back in October at Kelso and hasn't disappointed. Moved up a mile out, took over at the last and stayed on.

PIGEON ISLAND in blinkers and a tongue strap, led 3 out, but was held when eased and losing third on the line. David England received '21 days' for his misdemeanour. That aside I'm not sure Pigeon Island is particularly straightforward and I'd rather oppose than support him.

PANTHERS RUN had some bits and pieces of decent form to show, but has been a bit in and out. He finished fast to benefit from England's error and would be interesting in a minor staying maiden event.

Irish trained DABLUFFER set a strong pace but fell away in the straight. BEAU SADDLER stepped up on previous form to finish fourth. BEGGAR'S CAP, stepped up in trip, ran out of petrol in the last half mile.

3.40 3m 0.5f Handicap Hurdle

CATCH THE PERK made it 1n impressive 12 wins from 50 attempts with a win for local trainer Lucinda Russell. His last run was pulled up in the Veteran's Chase at Cartmel. If he can stick to this sort of form, then he's worth considering over hurdles or fences in the future. He showed admirable determination to hold off HARRY FLASHMAN, who's running well at present. HE'S A HOTSHOT now seems to have found some form and couldn't hold the first two but finished quite close, with the remainder 24 lengths and more adrift. I believe KID'Z'PLAY, the fourth placed horse, now goes to Hamilton on the flat on Thursday.

4.10 2m Handicap Chase

LUTEA is coming on in leaps and boundas, making it 4 in a row. He led jumping well and kept on in the straight.
SEEYAAJ hasn't been seen out often recently, but may be on the way back as he stayed on determinedly in second.
YANKEE HOLIDAY had two handlers in the paddock, pulled hard going down and tried to go with the leader but weakened in the straight. He won't always come up against an opponent like Lutea and I wouldn't write him off yet.
LOFTY LEADER often stays on late, but just didn't get a blow in here.
SOUTH BRONX looked a picture in the paddock, jumped very well, but could only find one pace from 4 out.
ARRESTING was most uncooperative and was pulled up after just 6 obstacles.

4.40 2m 0.5f Ladies' Handicap Hurdle

A very poor event fought out by the two competitors possessing from bordering on respectable. COMPTON EAGLE and TARKESAR went clear up the straight, the latter keeping on the stronger to get up close home. They were clear of the rest who really aren't performing well at the moment.

GUERILLA, as I had noted previously, is led around on the grass in the parade ring. I wonder if he has bad feet?

5.10 2m 0.5f NH Flat

An 18-strong field turned out for the closing bumper. The event was won with consummate ease by POUILLY, his jockey taking a good look round in the final furlong. He's run creditably in Irish points and is half-brother to winning stayers Jurancon III and Red Echo. The obvious conclusion is that given time he'll been a good deal better when faced with obstacles and a distance of ground. Certainly one to watch out for over obstacles in Ireland.

SIMONSIDER loked very well and put up a creditable debut performance, staying on for second. STILL AT LUNCH held up the form from the last meeting here and will probably find a race.

FUNNY THING didn't threaten the leaders, but kept on well for fourth. Half-sister to am iddle distance hurdle/chase winner Hailstorm, so presumably is one for the future over obstacles.

THAT'LL DO NICELY looked very fit, and was well backed, but was found out when push came to shove. BAGUENAUD was another well backed, moved up promisingly 4 furlongs out, but went out like a light in the last two furlongs. COCKATHEWALK came from well back to threaten on the home turn, but faded in the straight. MACROGER looked a decent jumping type to me, but never got any farther forward than mid division.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

July 14 Hamilton (Soft, Heavy in places)

The rain that swept in on Friday evening made the going soft, heavy in places, but the times suggest that perhaps it wasn't as testing as that.

Having spent time arriving at two selections for the meeting both were non-runners. The going change caused 18 horses to be pulled out.

6.50 6f Apprentice Handicap

Ironically this sprint event is named after Lord Advocate who was a stayer! Lord Advocate appeared in the paddock and looked full of beans, bucking and kicking. His owner said that he still thinks he's a racehorse and is still house in the racing yard. He looked in superb condition, as did the Nolan runners. The stable might have some slowcoaches amongst their inmates, but these horses are lovingly cared for, and no doubt have a better life than some of their more illustrious opponents.

RONDO went down early and came back a bit earlier than the others. He burst clear 1f out and won wuith a bit to spare. He looks one to watch our for when there's cut in the ground. His rider was suspended for 3 days as he cut across the second.

FISTRAL was well held despite the interference. Kirsty Milczarek was hard at work 2 out, but her mount responded well and kept on up the hill. Probably selling class but I would think this one can find a race. Third TURKISH SULTAN and 4th OUEF A LA NEIGE both had every chance and simply weren't good enough.

7.20 5f Handicap

There was some decent recent form from some of these and it turned out to be a competitive contest.

MELALCHRIST made all and stuck on to win by a couple of lengths. The rest were close together in the race for second. ROTHESAY DANCER(2nd), KATIE BOO(3rd) and PTARMIGAN RIDGE(4th) won't be penalised much if at all for being close up, and all three will continue to be competitive at this level.

11yo LEGAL SET went a decent pace for 4f and he would still be interesting dropped to selling company.

7.50 5f 3yo Median Auction

This looked a pretty poor event, but in the end it was closely fought with RUE SOLEIL just heading HOWARD'S TIPPLE close home. The latter had two handlers in the paddock, and has had plenty of chances, but did try hard and went close. LEMPICKA stayed on for third and can now be handicapped. Since this race was only 0.3 seconds slower than the handicap, allowing weight for age, I would imagine that the first three would be competitive at handicap level.

8.20 1m 3f 3-5yo Claimer

A dire looking event and not surprisingly no claims were received.

SIMPLY ST LUCIA has run respectably over hurdles and showed willingness to hold on having led at halfway, but won't find many poorer claimers. FRITH, looking fit after a break, stayed on for second. Favourite PATAVIAN had every chance, but didn't look all that keen to me.

RAGUANY found the front three too quick in the final 2 furlongs, and the rest just look slow.

8.50 1m 65y Handicap

STOLEN GLANCE won this with plenty in hand, scooting clear from over a furlong out.

NEIL'S LEGACY is in decent form and held off HOWARD'S ROCKET for second. The latter was stepping up on some poor previous form so I do wonder if the form is worth as much as it might seem. GREYFRIARS ABBEY started slowly, was rousted along coming into the straight and could never muster a challenge. I would imagine he will be capable of better given time.

1m 65yds 3yo Handicap

A moderate handicap won in convincing style by ICE BOX, leading 2 out and staying on for a comfortable 7 length win from MILSON'S POINT. I suspect the latter might just have found the distance stretching his stamina in the ground. FLAMESTONE, a fussy sort in the paddock, is only selling class and was a further 3 lengths back though keeping on willingly.

HEAVEN'S GATES was prominent to 2 out but then faded. He looked fit enough after a lay-off so the ground could have been against him.

CAPE DANCER weakened quickly 4 out, and was pulled up before the furlong pole. He looked sound afterwards, so perhaps it was a breathing problem.

July 14 - Hamilton this evening

I spent a couple of hours working through the card for this evening's meeting at Hamilton. The first four races were a struggle, with two particularly dire events in the middle of the card, a claimer and a sprint maiden, where strong form was not to the fore.

The last two races show a little more promise. REGENT'S SECRET(8.50) was favourite for the Carlisle Bell last time, but found that a little tough. Back over a course and distance where's he's proven this looks a bit easier, a decent 7lb claimer reduces the weight, he's a previous winner off his current mark and looks a sound bet. I'd be looking for 3-1 though.

BIVOUAC(9.20) is steadily improving and returns to the scene of a decent performance in slightly higher class last time. Dangers here would be Milson's Point, stepping up in trip off a decent second at Ayr, Heaven's Gates, who showed fair form on the all-weather, and Ice Box who has some fair handicap form. Against those I'm looking for 4-1 minimum about Bivouac.

Busy weekend as I'm off to Perth tomorrow afternoon. I'll post a meeting report ASAP with Perth to follow, and lookout for Hamilton and Perth course focuses on http://www.theracingforum.co.uk/ in the next few days. Another slightly different angle next Thursday as I am joining the corporate hospitality set at Hamilton entertaining my company's customers.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Monday July 9 2007

Musselburgh (Good)

The ground had dried out a bit with slightly kinder weather in the east of Scotland.

2.30 5f 2yo Auction Maiden

One or two here who should be contesting 5/6f nurseries shortly. GRUDGE and ROCHEPORT showed decent early pace and should show up well when handicapped.
FOL HOLLOW burst clear 2 out and won comfortably. He's previously done well enough over 6f which gives his trainer a few alternatives, and has now run well both in heavy and on good ground.
RIEVAULX VALENTINO struggled with the pace early, but came through nicely in the final furlong.

3.00 1m 6f Handicap

SCAVONIC and RED SUN went off a good clip. RED SUN increased the pace into the straight but had come to the end of his tether 2 out. He stays 2m, is on a mark round about his winning mark, so a win is possible in the near future.
ARTLESS was always handy, moved up nicely 2 out and stayed on well enough. Lightly raced and in the right hands to expect some improvement. Sir Mark will no doubt have something in mind for this one.
NIMRA kept on well in second, though disappointed when favourite previously and it's possible this one might just be difficult to win with.
COTTON EYED JOE had every chance but wasn't good enough when push came to shove.

3.30 7f Auction Maiden

Exposed types here. They set off a rattling pace and I suspect TOMMY TOBOUGG, who's been dotted around in trip, probably just had the race fall right for him.

4.00 7f 2yo Handicap

Disappointing 5 runner turn out for the nursery.

APOLLO SHARK stayed on really well confirming Thirsk promise. SUITE FRANCHISE helped set a decent pace, kept on well, and is bred to suited be by further.

4.30 5f Handicap

All bar the Nolan contestants looked competitive in this. In the event Kelly Harrison, who looks a pretty decent apprentice to me, brought ROTHESAY DANCER through smoothly in the final furlong.

5.00 7f Handicap

As so often Musselburgh 7f events, they hared off toward the first bend here, and those prominent on the turn were best placed at the end.

SANDS OF BARRA was caught flat footed, never got into in from the outside box and is capable of better. Ignore this run.

The main contenders were in a heap 2 out, ATTACCA coming out of the pack to record a third C/D win. Other than the course record he tends only to win in his turn.

5.30 1m 3yo Handicap

A moderate bunch who only win in their turn, and many with a lot of mileage on the clock.

DRINK TO ME ONLY's form tends to mix big numbers with 1's which does help the price when he sticks his head in front. He just held on from the consistent EMPEROR'S WELL. KIRKBY'S TREASURE started slowly, but they don't go quite as quickly early over the mile as the seven furlong trip, so he steadily got back into it, just lacking a further burst close home and just held in third.

I hope to get to Hamilton and Perth over the weekend. Lookout for a couple of course focuses on The Racing Forum.