Thursday, 31 January 2008

Kelso - Sunday January 27

Going – Heavy

Scotland soaked up a fair amount of rain in the previous few days, the ground coming up as very testing. The first fence down the far side was omitted in all chases.

I was laid up with a heavy cold, so notes made from At The Races coverage.

1.05 3m 3f 0-90 Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

There aren’t that many hurdles of this length in the season, and this was a pretty poor affair, with many of the competitors out of form, that is if they were ever in form.

DICKIE LEWIS was at or near the head of affairs all the way and, although tired, stayed on dourly for victory. He’s not a prolific winner, but all his three victories have come in heavy ground so one to consider when it comes up very testing.
ABERDARE has had a stop start career, and his wins have both been in the soft. Never far away and staying on but couldn’t maintain a sustained challenge.
ZAFFIE PARSON has won over a similar trip before and, having been at the rear at halfway, plodded through field for third. CONTENDO was fourth, moving up on the home bend but having no more to give in the straight. DALAWAN matched strides with the winner to a mile out but then faded.
TOPAZ LADY had moved up nicely to challenge Dickie Lewis three out but blundered and lost her rider. She seemed to have every chance, acts well in the conditions and is worth noting for a similar event at 3 miles or more.

1.35 2m 6½ f 0-125 Handicap Hurdle

Quite a competitive staying hurdle.

As is his way KEMPSKI set the pace, but weakened after 4 out as the challengers came at him.
BEAU SADDLER raced prominently and looked to have every chance when falling 3 out. I’m sure there’s a similar event within Beau Saddler’s compass though he is a bit frustrating.
TARTAN SNOW was prominent all the way, led on the run-in and had too much for REEL CHARMER and MIRAGE D’OR in the last furlong. REEL CHARMER had led 2 out and MIRAGE D’OR was in the mix without ever getting in front. Decent form from the first three.
POSH STICK had been well out of form and she was held up out the back, but stayed on from the home bend to finish fourth. She won over fenecs at Carlisle last year, and this run may signal a return to that sort of form.
MORE LIKELY was impressive in the winning the novices’ chase at this meeting last year, but has been out of sorts this season. She was prominent early but dropped away and was not in contention.

2.05 2m 6½ f Novices’ Chase

A decent early pace set by Shrewd Investor and Double Default.

The winner, BRAVE REBELLION came from off the pace, moving up smoothly from 3 out, leading on the flat and staying on. Stays further and should find another race.
TRUCKERS LADY confirmed the form of her previous race here, having every chance at the last but not quite good enough to get past the winner. She can probably win an open novice event, but a mares only chase must be at her mercy.
DOUBLE DEFAULT had a good go from the front and was still leading over the last. Faded close home, but in tough conditions this was a decent effort. A very promising first completion over fences and should win a similar event.
KIRKSIDE PLEASURE never quite got to the leaders and was one paced in fourth. WITCH WIND went well enough until running out of puff three out. A better effort than previous two chase runs, so worth keeping an eye on.

2.40 2m 2f Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

A very steady pace here, not a strong event either and only a few got into the race. There seemed to be a lot of deadwood out the back.

ROSIE ALL OVER led all the way and kept on well. She will now have a double penalty in novice evetns which could make things tough. I presume connections may go for handicaps, though she may be capable of defying the extra weight in another mares’ novice.
IT’S TEESCOMPONENTS was prominent, but feeling the pinch when falling 3 out. May just pick up a weak novice, but I reckon a seller is likely to be her level.
CUTE N YOU KNOW IT came from well back, staying on for third. CAMELIA WALK was always prominent but couldn’t get to the winner in the last half mile. TARABALOO plugged on for fourth, and her pedigree suggests longer trip wouldn’t do any harm. CALOW GLEN raced prominently but faded in the straight.
BABY SISTER has some places in her form, but they don’t look much to shout about and she didn’t get a blow at the leading group.
The likes of MONEYLAWS, DOUBLE RUNNER and ONE BLACK CAT weren’t put into the race and look slow.

3.15 3m 4f 0-105 Handicap Chase

My favourite event on the card as the fine old ‘staying gladiators’ came out for this battle of attrition! I tend to note more on these events since I’ve got more ‘quiet moments’ to scribble down ontes.

SKENFRITH has been way out of form recently, an injury not helping, but his connections have been patient and were rewarded with an excellent gutsy performance here. He took the lead early on, disputed or led till the run-in when headed by Ryminster, but had too much stamina for that opponent in the last furlong. Skenfrith has dropped in the weights during his poor spell, so is well weighted for similar events. The mud suits him well as he clearly has deep reserves of stamina.
RYMINSTER looked the winner approaching the elbow, but then the tank registered empty and he struggled home in second. His commitment can’t be faulted, but he just looks held off a mark of 97, 16lbs higher than his last winning mark.
NEVADA RED stayed on up the run-in for third, having never been any closer. He’s only 7 so has a bit of time and I suspect will proof a force in these lower class staying events.
NO PICNIC ran a fair race in fourth, possibly finding the heavy going sapping his strength. On the face of it this was a fair run, and a slight drop in class and easier conditions may see him get his head in front.
HIGH FIVE wasn’t able to dominate this event as he had a lower class event last time. I suspect he needs to be in 0-95 company to win again.
MISS MATTIE ROSS was midfield most of the way, and currently seems unable to race her game to a winning level.
CASH BONANZA raced up with the pace until 3 out, but then faded badly. I think he struggles for stamina in these conditions, and I wonder if 3 miles on better ground might help?
LE ROYAL was never in contention, despite the fact that distance and going apparently suited.
GLEN TULLOCH seemed to going comfortably when unseating at the ditch past the stands on the final circuit. If she’s got a race in her Tony Martin can probably find it, but is a 9yo currently 0 from 13.
CARNDALE fell back from halfway.
SCRAPPIE was never going, didn’t jump well and was pulled up. A combination of the conditions and step up from novice company probably didn’t help.
DO L’ENFANT D’EAU was another pulled up, never really in the argument. Has run some decent races in long distance events, but never won beyond 2m 4f.
FLEETFOOT MAC is well out of sorts, never in touch and pulled up at the fifteenth.

3.45 2m ½f 4yo Novices’ Hurdle

This didn’t look a great contest to me.

SMUGGLERS’ BAY led pulling hard, tried to stop on the stands’ bend, but still stayed in front until the last. I suspect he will win again on better ground, but he clearly has quirks.
FLORENTINO got into contention going well 3 out, and went clear quite nicely on the flat. I have a bit of a soft spot for Guy Reed’s horses since I made a few bob when Chris Thornton first started training them way back. This filly should win another minor event on this evidence.
Apart from these two, RIGUEZ DANCER raced up with the pace, but couldn’t raise his game at the business end. ZOREN ran well for a way but was a psent force by the sixth flight. Nothing else got in a blow.

4.15 2m ½f NH Flat Race

There are normally one or two capable performers in these events at Kelso.

The Swinbank trained SCALE BANK set a steady pace, but faded over the last half mile.
KNOCKARA BEAU seemed to relish the tough conditions, led entering the straight and ran on well.
JIMMY THE SAINT stayed on for second. The McCain stable should be able to place this one to win.
If there’s one doubt about the form, it’s the presence of BAILEYS SURPRISE in third. He couldn’t match the first two in the final couple of furlongs but apparently stepped up on previous form. The fourth FISHING INSTRUCTOR is at least worth keep an eye on.

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