Wednesday, 23 January 2008

January Notes

Catching up with a couple of meetings from January.

CATTERICK – Friday January 18th – Heavy

Just one race of interest here for me and that was the grandly titled North Yorkshire Grand National Handicap Chase, a title which takes the ‘National craze’ to absurdity. I hadn’t realised North Yorkshire was a nation, but there you go!

The weather was absolutely foul, pouring rain, a strong wind and bottomless going, so it was survival of the strongest.

2.10 3m 6f Handicap Chase

1st – LUCKY NELLERIE ran some decent races last season but he hadn’t clicked in two runs this term. This race played to his strengths as he stays all day and can keep up a good gallop and the light weight here must have helped, Michael O’Connell proving a very capable partner and the 5lbs claim reducing the weight to 9-12. Taking the lead at the second fence he was always in command, jumping well and although pushed along by 4 out he stayed on too well for the others up the straight.
2nd – BANNISTER LANE raced prominently, was ridden along down the back straight for the final time and, though staying on, could never quite get to the winner. He’s handicapped to the hilt and runs so honestly that there’s unlikely to be a respite, but he should be thereabouts in similar races.
3rd – SHARP JACK another who ran a very decent race, making progress through the field to move 2nd at the 17th, he threatened 3 out but then ran out of puff. A decent effort nevertheless and worth considering in Northern staying events.
4th – MOUSTIQUE DE L’ISLE ran n honest enough race from bottom weight, but wasn’t good enough to get into contention having just one pace at the business end. Performance here suggests that a drop to 0-110 or 0-115 class staying events would put him among the contenders.
5th – KING KILLONE was on the fringe for much of the race, but the weight told and he couldn’t get seriously into the scrap for the places. In less testing conditions, or perhaps with less weight on his back he would have more chance.
6th – CANADA STREET, in touch for a long way, couldn’t summon up reserves when they were needed. Under the conditions he was not disgraced.
7th – BELLANEY JEWEL moved up going on to the final circuit, couldn’t get to the front group and weakened in the final half mile.
8th – YOUNG SMOKEY was prominent early but fell out of contention at the 8th and plodded round to finish a couple of fences behind.
BANG AND BLAME and CLASSIC CAPERS were prominent early but weakened going on to the final circuit and pulled up 3 out. LAERTES was given reminders early, lost touch and was pulled up.
MATAMATA DE TENDRON was midfield when unseating at the 9th.
HIGH COTTON has never won, but has managed to earn just over £60,000 in 40 races for some placed efforts in decent company. He clearly hated the conditions, was soon remote, and eventually pulled up after trailing round tailed off. JUNGLE JINKS similarly was quickly well behind and though keeping going for quite a way was never ‘racing’.
CLEMAX whacked the second and was pulled up after the fourth fence.

KELSO – Friday January 11th
Going – Heavy

12.40 2m ½f Novices’ Hurdle

STARTING POINT put in a very game performance here. Leading from the start he was clear 3 out, but was then under pressure, reeled back in by the last but stayed on determinedly to hold on.
BEST PROSPECT was outbattled by the winner on the flat. He had some decent flat form, handles this going very well and should win a similar event soon.
RICH LORD didn’t have enough to go with the first two on the flat but performed creditably. CHARLIE TOKYO made a satisfactory hurdling debut, although he did have conditions in his favour. SILVER STEEL lacked pace in the final half mile, and I suspect chasing will be his game in time.

1.10 2m 6½f Mares’ Novices Chase

A cracking battle between two game mares in SCARVAGH DIAMOND and TRUCKERS LADY. SCARVAGH DIAMOND was scrubbed along from 4 out, but one thing she does is stay and just held on in a ding-dong finish. TRUCKERS LADY had only run twice under rules and the toughness she showed here augurs well for a similar contest.

1.40 2m ½f Morebattle Handicap Hurdle

A competitive event which used to be a conditions event at one time.

BYWELL BEAU is as game as they come and loves it round Kelso. He led as usual, was headed on the flat but battled back. He really seems to relish a set too once the others come at him.
FIRST LOOK led on the flat but was headed close home and won’t always find one as tough in opposition.
MOHAYER moved up nicely along the back straight, challenged three out but didn’t have enough left in the latter stages. He was not disgraced.

2.10 2m 1f Handicap Chase

CORLANDE and SOMETHING SILVER had this race between them from the start. CORLANDE went clear on the flat but seemed tired at the end, so I suspect he’s one for a two-miler whereas SOMETHING SILVER was still staying on and may be suited by farther.
OLIVERJOHN ran an honest enough race if never getting to the leaders, and MISS PROSS stayed on late.
Sad to see PILLAGING PICT pulling up and being reported lame. He’s been a grand campaigner, won gamely at Newcastle previously, and I hope the injury isn’t too serious.

2.40 2m 6 ½ f Novices’ Hurdle

On an afternoon of tight finishes there was another cracking duel in this race. MASTER BUILDER just held HARRY WOOD after a prolonged battle. Both come out of this with credit, though may need a little rest before appearing again.
TINTO VERANO ran respectably and is likely to have more chance in a handicap. PIMBO LANE was in the firing line until left after the last, but promises to be competitive in staying novice races.

3.10 3m 1f Handicap Chase

Many of the same old suspects out in this low grade staying chase, though I’ve got a fascination for these events going back countless years.

HIGH FIVE enjoyed himself in front and was no doubt suited by being able to dominate this field. He jumped well until a mistake three out meant he was joined for the lead, but then he stayed on again.
LE ROYAL was thereabouts most of the way, plugged on from 3 out to finish 2nd, and a furlong or two more presumably won’t do his chances any harm.
GENERAL HARDI challenged from 3 out but tired on the flat. Less taxing conditions might give him a chance.
WILLIE JOHN DALY is a long-standing rogue, his last win was that ‘waiting for company’ finish at Sandown, though he has ability when consenting to put his best hoof forward. He was ‘encouraged’ along early on, joined the fray by the eleventh and moved into 3rd after that but only plugged on for fourth. He may just have another race in him, but where and when is anyone’s guess.
LETHEM PRESENT was prominent early but fell away and is right out of form.
MARINGO was given reminders early and never going, BLACK SMOKE was struggling by the seventh and pulled up and FLEETFOOT MAC had a non-going day being out of it by the ninth. OSCAR TRAIL (fell 2nd) and MISS MATTIE ROSS (u.r. 4th) were early departures.

3.40 NH Flat Race

Like a few Kelso bumpers this looked competitive.
LET’S GO GIRLS won nicely and looks a likely one for a repeat win.
LIE FORRIT confirmed his debut promise and did nothing wrong in second place.
TEENAGE IDOL was a debut winner at Ayr, was well backed here and given that the conditions were similar to his debut this may be as good as he is on heavy ground.
EXCITING CAR raced prominently, had every chance and ran out of puff close home. A promising debut, from a stable which should bring him on nicely, and there would seem to be more to come.
JENNY POTTS and ETHEL BRIGGS came from behind to occupy 5th and 6th spots showing enough promise of better to come. Certainly both would be worthy of consideration in lesser events.

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