PERTH – Thursday 24 April 2008
Going –Good To Soft
Morning rain meant the going eased to good to soft, and there were showers during the after, a particularly after the third race. The ultra-keen Course Manager Sam Morshead even gave up on his presentation during the latter downpour!
As is often the case at this time of year it was difficult to tie down winners in some races. It’s a mix of horses blossoming in the spring, and those which have been on the go starting to fade.
2.10 2m 0.5f Novices’ Hurdle
This race basically involved four competitors and five make-weights.
LAZY DARREN won this nicely enough, making progress down the back straight, leading between the last two and staying on for victory. His third at Aintree looked decent enough and so it proved.
FRANK CROW’s last two runs had been disappointing. However, he was more on his game in this event. He’s an easy going sort, bright and alert in the paddock and settled well. Although finding Lazy Darren too strong he kept on well for second and, given that he has only had the one win, there must be scope for placing him in the near future.
QUICUYO looks a strong type who might go on to make a chaser in time. Found the first two a bit quick in the straight but wasn’t disgraced. Behind him, COOL OPERATOR ran up to previous form in fourth.
Of the others there is a glimmer of hope for STEEL MAN. His previous form was dire, but on this occasion he was at the head of affairs until weakening quickly after the sixth flight. He had a wind problem previously and, assuming this has been attended too, may have the ability to win a seller.
Hurdles debutant ART INVESTOR showed nothing significant.
2.45 2m Handicap Chase
COACH LANE looked an absolute picture in the paddock. He’s a strong, handsome sort. The pace was strong here, Coach Lane being raced up with the leaders. He led 2 out and looked as if he’d win with a bit to spare. However, Yankee Holiday pressed him on the run-in, the pair finishing well clear.
YANKEE HOLIDAY is a bit of a quirky character, with two handlers in the paddock and pulling hard as usual going down. That being said he normally gives a decent account of himself on the track, coming late here to bustle up the winner close home. He will presumably be campaigned in similar races here over the summer.
ORMELLO had every chance but didn’t have enough pace over the last two. He ran well enough though and may be another to contest similar events here in the coming months.
LOCH OSCAIG ran creditably enough but a rise in the weights may have stopped him. He looked at peak fitness here, so this may be as good as he is. He moved up on the inside three out, but couldn’t go with Coach Lane.
BILLYANDI was made favourite, presumably on the strength of his trainer’s show on the first day, but was never a factor. A mark that sometimes horse can be favoured because of the trainer, but that ignores the form book facts.
MANHATTAN BOY has ability, but was very cussed on this occasion. Mounted on the track, he planted and needed extreme encouragement, his rider eventually bumping him a furlong or two with feet out of the irons. Somewhere along the line Manhattan Boy sustained a cut mouth. The injury was cleaned up at the start, but the fuss couldn’t have helped and he was behind early.
NORTHERN QUEST was another who wasn’t particularly co-operative. He went down early, the rider going a couple of furlongs with feet out of the irons. He was pulled up 2 out.
BEGGARS CAP was well fancied but very disappointing.
3.20 3m 0.5f Class 2 Novices’ Hurdle
According to Sam Morshead, this was highest rated hurdle ever to take place at Perth. It was certainly a decent event, a good second tier target for those just off the top of the staying novice ranks.
The pace was steady early and only picked up going on to the final circuit. The leader was local challenger SILVER BY NATURE. I had this one down as an interesting prospect when he won the bumper here last year. I’ve never quite fathomed him since then, but he was just a little bit out of his class and faded in the straight, being eased when beaten.
LODGE LANE battled well to hold the favourite TAZBAR in a tight finish. Neither lost anything in a fine race and both look useful prospects for the future.
VIKING REBEL matched the front two until the last and then gave way.
Significantly, PRIDE OF DULCOTE goes into next season still a novice hurdler. Given that he was so close to three useful previous winners, he looks a shoo-in in a bog standard staying novice event. Only a 5yo too, so there would seem much to come from this gelding.
OH PICKLES found the company too tough, being the first to drop out of contention.
3,55 3m Class 2 Handicap Chase
A cracker of a staying handicap chase, quite possibly the strongest ever to be staged at Perth. Last year’s renewal was won by Dream Alliance who went on to finish second in the Hennessy at Newbury.
This race was one in gritty style by ERIC’S CHARM. Having taken the lead four out he looked likely to be settling for a place in the straight, but battled back most tenaciously after the last to head the leader almost on the line.
The 11 year old BROOKLYN BREEZE looked sure to take this prize when leading 2 out. He hadn’t won for a couple of years, but ran a cracker here, and the suggestion is there’s still a handicap chase in him.
BROOKLYN BROWNIE ran a fine race in third, the first two getting away on the flat. He raced prominently in a race which was run at a decent pace, so I suspect this was a significant performance. He may just be slightly better at a shorter distance.
ST MATTHEW ran well enough without threatening to win. This effort suggests possibilities in less competitive events.
KENZO III was up with the pace from the start and probably paid for that a bit. He weakened in the straight to finish fifth. UNDENIABLE ran a fair race in sixth have been in contention down the back straight on the last circuit. Another who probably found the race a tad too competitive.
BLUE SPLASH made a bad error at the eighth and his rider was unable to recover, so pulled up. Unfortunately his record is littered with errors, though he has won a couple of chases.
STANDIN OBLIGATION ran no sort of race. I have seen it suggested he didn’t like the right handed track, but since he got three vigorous slaps before the first bend had been reached, I’m not sure that was the case. For whatever reason, he wasn’t interested. Much the same could be said for PETITJEAN who hit a couple early and never looked interested.
4.30 3m 7f Hunters’ Chase
The only slight doubt in this contest was whether NATIAIN would stay the extended trip. In the event he had no problem whatsoever, and judging by his comparatively relaxed state in the unsaddling area he could probably have gone round again. His jumping was immaculate and he was basically hunted round, with a gear or two to spare. The second moved up briefly at the 20th fence, but Natiain just upped the pace enough to go clear.
HARLOV ran an honest race in second. Compared to the winner he could have blown a house down afterwards, but then since he would have been receiving two stone plus in a handicap it was understandable. Harlov is a fine stayer at his level, but found the winner way too good.
Vicky Simpson nursed JACKSONVILLE round once he lost touch with the leaders, making sure of third place.
BE UPSTANDING was still up with Natiain when taking a nasty fall 5 out. Fortunately both horse and rider were up quickly, and apparently noe the worse.
KAUSSE DE THAIX and TYNEDALE both jettisond their riders early on, with LOST PROPERTY and UNCLE NEIL not remotely fast enough at this level.
5.50 2m 4.5f Handicap Hurdle
A competitive handicap hurdle to finish the card. The start was held up by the antics of WISE CHOICE. Having jettisoned Dougie Costello, he set off on two circuits of the track the wrong way, and was having none of it when various people encouraged him to stop. He eventually got tired and stopped to walk when his jockey retrieved him, Wise choice having been withdrawn in the meantime. It occurred to me that since he is trained at Glenfarg, if he’d run in a straight line he would have been halfway home!
Anyway back to the race which was won nicely by DE BLANC. He took the race by the scruff of the neck early in the straight, and though the others closed he had a bit to spare at the finish. He has been running creditably this season and recorded a first win for two years. He’s won over hurdles and fences so there’s scope for placing him.
PACHA D’OUDAIRIES was held up, and stayed on for second. He was unlucky on his previous run, and given the run of the race might be expected to record another win soon.
LEGALLY FAST ran a decent race from up with the pace, leading into the straight but one paced once passed. I noted that he was the only blinkered runner on the entire card, which must be unusual for a jumps card with 73 declared.
BOLLIN RUTH kept on for fourth, finding this event a bit tougher than the mares’ only race at Ayr. KEY PHIL has been alternating between hurdling and chasing, running up with the pace for a long way but fading into fifth.
TAMIMI’S HISTORY struggled on a first venture into ‘senior’ handicapping company. He has ability though, and given a race or two it’s likely he will adjust and win a handicap hurdle.