Thursday, 24 April 2008

Perth Festival 2008 - Day One

PERTH – Wednesday April 23 2008
Going – Good

Damp weather but it made no difference to the going which was just right for the first day of the Perth Festival. The meeting plays host to trainers from far and wide, and it was the Cheltenham stable of Nigel Twiston-Davies that stole the day, recording a four-timer.

2.10 2m 4.5f Maiden Hurdle

A low key start to the meeting, with a maiden full of one paced and slow types.

Irish-trained CARRICK DHU made the running here, but his jumping was not that special. However he was still in front when running out at the third last and dumping his rider. He’s had plenty of chances and this run suggests there will always be reasons to oppose this one.
SOLWAY BEE has lacked a bit of pace at the business end, though putting up some fair performances in novice company. She forged clear in the straight to win with a fair bit in hand. Presumably her future now lies in handicap company where she has acquitted herself well previously.
THUNDERWING , although not sticking with the winner, did stay on for second. His efforts over 2 miles suggested a lack of finishing pace so presumably he will be campaigned at tis distance or further now.
GENERAL LEDGER had a chance entering the straight but was then left behind. His form suggests real test of stamina may be needed. He’s a winner of a bumper at Hexham and I wonder if a return to Hexham for a 3 miler may help.
CULCAVY was left behind from 3 out having raced prominently. His record to date does not pick him out as a potential winner.

2.45 3m 0.5f Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

A competitive novices’ handicap hurdle with a quite a few coming into it with promising recent form.

Nigel Twiston-Davies’ THE GREAT ALFIE was restrained at the back for much of the trip, brought through steadily from 3 out and led on the flat to win well. This was only his fourth race over hurdles so, given that the step up in trip clearly suited, it’s likely that his trainer can secure a win or two more.
MY ARCH has performed well this season in novice events in Scotland and the north. He didn’t do much wrong here, being produced to challenge in the straight but just found out by a better handicapped winner. He should continue to perform well in handicaps and I would be interested if he goes chasing.
ANDYTOWN had every chance, and lost momentum after hitting 2 out probably cost that chance. He quite lightly raced, clearly has ability and I suspect will improve on this.
HEEZ A STEEL has run some decent races, but is collecting a long list of places.
PARADISE BAY might be worth watching for in a lower class event since he ran a decent race in fifth. He made some progress down the back, but couldn’t sustain the run in the straight. He’s on a mark of 94 which gives Gordon Elliott a chance to drop him in class.
STRAVAIGIN ran well enough in sixth, but found this company tougher than previous races. As has been the case in her previous races she came off the bridle some way out, but this time couldn’t battle her way back into contention.
VON GALEN had decent form going into this but was struggling from the start and pulled up after a circuit.

3.20 3m Novices’ Chase

A competitive stayers’ novice event for decent prize money.

The pace was steady for the first two miles.

ALLBORN LAD set the pace with Sharp Reply, but he’s not as good as these and struggled once the tempo increased. His sights need to be lowered.
I liked the look of NUDGE AND NURDLE as a chase when he won at Kelso earlier in the season. He was held up here, and made a couple of early mistakes, but moved into contention between the last two fences. He led on the flat and just held the late rush of the runner-up.
FLEET STREET finished with a flourish, just too late to get his head in front. This was his first try at the distance, and the suggestion is that he stayed very well, though remember that the pace was steady.
THE WHISPERER was outpaced on the flat, having led over the last two. Past from suggests he’s a real stayer, and a faster pace or stiffer test would be helpful.
LOVE THAT BENNY disappointed last time, but on ground that suits him ran well here. He’s one to watch out for in the next few weeks when the ground is on the fast side.
SHARP REPLY helped set the pace but ran out of petrol between the last 2.
FLYING FALCON has been in good form but his jumping let him down here.

3.55 2m 1/2f 0-125 Handicap Hurdle

I marked LITTLE BOB down as a future winner last spring. It took him a little time to notch a win, but this was his second success and he now moving in the right direction. He led on the flat, Paddy Brennan riding another ‘hold up’ race as he recorded his third success of the afternoon. I think Little Bob can win again soon.
SUMMER SOUL is a lightly raced import from Ireland. Coming off a break, he was up with the front-runners down the back straight and kept on well after the turn for home. A very promising run and looks a ready made winner for Lucinda Russell.
LONGDALE is a well exposed sort who ran up to his form in third, as did STAINLEY in fourth.
AMAZING KING was given every chance but couldn’t quicken between the last two.
ORANG OUTAN won last time out after a break, but this may have come to soon and he was pulled up. Bear in mind also that he was up in grade and running on faster ground, so it may be the run can be forgiven.

4.30 2m 4.5f 0-125 Handicap Chase

NIRVANA SWING had decent form coming into this race, two wins followed by a UR when in contention. He kept his good run going, racing prominently and showing plenty of determination on the flat.
GREAT JANE showed some promise last year, but then hit a flat spot. She was another who raced prominently and kept on well, finishing well clear of the rest. A good run in what looked a competitive event, and form which suggests another win won’t be far away.
CATEGORICAL won a claimer at Musselburgh in February over this distance. He didn’t threaten the leaders but stayed on for third. I get the impression that he is handicapped to the hilt over fences.
CLASSIC CAPERS has been dotted about between staying events and these middle distance chases. To his credit he acquits himself well enough whatever the distance, though is another who seems handicapped right to his ability.
DO L’ENFANT D’EAU is another who has been swapped between distances. In general he has been campaigned at this level though he ran well enough here, if lacking the pace of the placed horses, and the suggestion is a drop in class would give him a chance of his mark of 99.
GOLD HEART was not far away for much of the trip, but didn’t have enough at the end. He’s shown a hint of ability since moving from France, but yet to threaten a victory.
SEEYAAJ got into contention three out but fell away. He is running quite well but off a mark 9lbs higher than his last chase win. He is 8lbs lower over hurdles, and was a creditable second to Palomar on his last outing, so I suspect Lucinda Russell might try to exploit this.

5.05 3m 0-100 Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle

Another Twiston-Davies winner in MAJOR MALARKEY, and another winner held up. He made a couple of hurdling mistakes out the back, but this didn’t inconvenience him and, coming thorough to lead at the last, stayed on nicely. This win takes him out of 0-100 class in the future, but he did win a 0-115 at Ludlow, so there’s hope of another victory.
LILY TARA never quite got near enough to threaten a win, but ran on well for second. She went up 14lbs for her last win, but still seems to be competitive.
COLDWELLS was up with the pace for much of the way, but couldn’t match the first two once they went past in the straight. He’s yet to win, but he ran well enough to suggest a minor staying hurdle might be within his compass.
LADY ROANIA plugged on for fourth. She’s 7lbs higher than her win at Ludlow in the autumn and would probably need to drop a few pounds.
SELECTION BOX looked threatening, but then whacked the second last which ended his chances. Invariably his Irish outings are in huge fields, so it might be that another trip to the Scotland may provide his best opportunity. Without the poor jump he may well have finished first three.
I’M YOUR MAN Stayed on in sixth. He won three times last summer, and has dropped below his last winning mark so is possibly one to note when the sun shines.
OLIVERJOHN and ASTON both seem out of sorts at the moment. The latter has looked unwilling at times in the past.

5.40 2m 4.5f Maiden Hurdle

Making his hurdling debut ANDREW NICK showed determination to see off Tuskar Rock and Diamond Frontier on the flat. I’m not sure this was a very strong race, but Andrew Nick showed enough promise to suggest he will progress.
TUSKAR ROCK doesn’t seem to have a change of pace, but his attitude seems good. He looked the winner after the last, but was headed in the last 100 yards.
DIAMOND FRONTIER performed to more or less the same level of his previous runs. He is competitive in these events and should pick up a maiden or novice eventually.
POLITICAL PADDY ran on, having been outpaced 3 out. His form suggests a stiffer test is required.
PRINCE DU BEURY looked strongest on form, but was disappointing having had every chance.
There didn’t seem an awful lot of promise from the remainder.

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