Going - Hurdles - Good to soft, soft in places Chases - Soft, good to soft in places
Open ditch down the far side omitted.
Made my notes, then dropped the notebook somewhere on the course. Language experts are still trying to decipher the hyroglyphics as we speak! The following notes are done from memory.
2.20 3m 0.5f Claiming Hurdle
A poor looking race. Run at a slow pace but the runners still came home very tired. The fact that 10yo winner SONO was recording a first win sums this contest up, although to his credit he did keep on stoutly. Graham Lee got 4 days for overuse of the whip. TOTALLY SCOTTISH looked best on form but idled in front. ARISTI ran as well as could be expected in third. CROC AN OIR needs a faster surface. TUSCANY ROSE didn't stay. KISSINTHEPEACH went well enough in front, but was starting to feel the pinch when coming down 2 out.
2.50 2m Beginners Chase
DALDINI had run some decent races recently and staying on well under 'strong encouragement' by Tjade Collier. THE STICKLER ran well enough but wasn't as good as the winner. ANOTHER SUPERMAN tried hard but was held from the last. He looked absolutely knackered in the unsaddling enclosure, and may need a rest. KYLE OF LOCHALSH proved once again that he is slow.
3.20 2m 4.5f Novices Hurdle
I've been enthusiastic about MIDDLETON DENE since seeing him placed in a NH Flat race at Kelso last October. Although under pressure 3 out he stayed on well to win with a bit in hand. That's three novice wins, so the penalties probably take him out of such company now, so it's a question of how the handicapper treats him. PIGEON ISLAND is generally fitted with a few aids, tongue tie and blinkers here, and lacks something at the business end. Whether it's physical or mental I don't know, but he needs easy company to notch a win. ORMELLO won a £15000 event in France, but I can only conclude that there are some moderate horses running for decent money over the Channel. He couldn't go with the first two from the home turn. The remainder offer no optimism.
3.50 2m 4.5f Handicap Chase
What should have been a 0-100 chase turned out to be a 0-84 event after the top 7 in the handicap were pulled out. While I can appreciate that the change in the ground is no help, this sort of occurrence does the sport no good whatsoever. Even the bookies weren't sure which horses were running! In a race of selling class the enigmatic RUSSIAN SKY consented to put best foot forward. After an all the way duel with LOST IN NORMANDY he outbattled the latter on the run-in. LOST IN NORMANDY was coming off a lay-off and this was a decent run. CASH ON FRIDAY ran respectably in third and may find a minor race. GEE AKER MALAYO had been running well over further at Hexham, a stiffer track, and lacked pace over the final fences. Favourit, MISTER MAGNUM was under pressure early on the final circuit and dropped away from 4 out. TRUE TEMPER ran respectably in hunter chases but in the conditions couldn't handle the handicappers. If he goes back to the former events next season he still has ability to win a small event.
4.20 3m Handicap Chase
PRESTBURY KNIGHT looked an interesting prospect based on hurdle form, and in his second chase doddled up here with any amount in hand. CATCH THE PERK followed up his hurdle win here with another decent run. VIC THE PILER ran well enough in third and should continue to be competitive at this level. BLUE RISING was niggled along for much of the way and didn't quite get into the firing line. I suspect a stiffer track would help more as he performed well at Towcester on his previous outing. He's only 6 and with the right stable, so I would imagine he will be placed to advantage some time. INNISFREE struggled from a way out and probably found the conditions a bit too taxing. LORD ON THE RUN was never going well enough, and 11yo THE KEW TOUR is really struggling these days and I wonder if retirement beckons?
4.50 2m 0.5f Handicap Hurdle
This revolved around the Monteith tables three runners. Favourite ROSSIN GOLD faded very tamely from 3 out. KRISTIANSAND made the pace but couldn't hold TIGER KING over the last two. Both are at the right end of the handicap so I'd expect both to be placed to win. ENGLISH CITY ran well in the spring, but seems to be struggling a bit at the moment, though picked up third prize money some way behind Kristiansand.