Monday, 9 June 2008

Early June Update

Other commitments have meant I have been struggling to keep up with local racing in recent weeks, but here are a few notes from recent meetings.


All the excitement here concentrated on the opening two-year-old maiden contest. Leader VERINCO jinked right close home and bashed into LUCKY DAN, with both jockeys ending up on the floor. The theory seems to be that somebody near the winning post was waving and the horse shied. That being said, the finish at Hamilton is a bit of a funnel, with the trees on one side and the stands on the other, so it doesn’t surprise me if some nervous horses do shy a bit.
CALLEY HO was presented with the race, but was in the process of putting in a decent performance, staying on in third place. I wouldn’t be surprised if this one improves if upped in trip.

MINERAL RIGHTS has run well over seven furlongs this year but showed his versatility, going close over 5 furlongs. He should win soon.

OUEF A LA NEIGE went sprinting for a while last year but looks better over further. Staying on in the 1m 65yds 52-69 Handicap he suggested a move up in trip will do no harm and I’d expect a win before long.

THE BEAR ran a decent race in second in the 6f handicap. The winner OPAL NOIR is steadily progressing, confirming previous promise over the course and distance. YORKSHIRE BLUE can be frustrating, but gave a hint of a return to form when running into third. He does win in his turn, but is often well backed so it’s questionable whether he is value to back.
MANDURAH, RAINBOW FOX and COLEORTON DANCER were close enough to suggest they have a shout in upcoming events.

The versatile LA VECCHIA SCUOLA sluiced up in the last, a handicap over 1m 5f. It probably wasn’t the toughest race, but if her hurdles form is anything to go by she could be a good deal better than this level on the flat.


SPIN CYCLE won what looked a competitive novice 2yo event and now goes for the Norfolk Stakes. The ones I would take out of this race are third placed KERRYS REQUIEM, still a maiden though surely not for long, and fourth placed newcomer ELEGANT CAD who mixed it well with some promising juveniles. The latter’s trainer has a reasonable record with two-year-olds and should place Elegant Cad to advantage.

RECORD BREAKER found more once headed in the 1m 6f Handicap. This looked competitive despite only 6 runners, he won’t go up far for a narrow win, and I suspect there is more to come. SIR DUKE came to win but was just outbattled close home.
On the face of it, ROYAL AMNESTY’s performance was disappointing, but given that this was a step up in trip and class I’m prepared to forgive this ‘miss’. He will find easier opportunities in 0-80 or 0-85 company.

The ‘Tradesman’s Derby’, a 0-80 3yo handicap included a few progressive sorts and was a close contest, RESPLEDENT LIGHT responding well close home to hold on in a tight finish. SUNDOWNER came from the back and just failed. I suspect this form is good enough that both can step up in class.
YES MR PRESIDENT veered toward the crowd in the closing stages and finished a close third. BETCHWORTH KID was another arriving from the rear, finishing not far away in fourth, just failing to summon an extra surge.
STEP THIS WAY led but gave way in the final furlong. He’ll find easier races.

In a race full of exposed sprinters, PRINCESS ELLIS made her record three out of three at the course in the sprint handicap, leading all the way from the no. 9 stall. Given that she would presumably have been even better suited by a rail draw, this performance might be better than bare value.


LETHEM PRESENT had a miserable winter, but has proved to be a completely different performer with faster ground and the sun on her back. She made most to win comfortably from a big field in the 3m 1f handicap chase. It’s notable that there were 17 finishers out of the 20 runners, which I would consider unusual for Hexham.
GET THE GIFT ran a very good race in second, given that this came after a five month lay-off. Should win a fast ground staying handicap chase soon.
Juvenile hurdles seem to start earlier every year, and SIMARIAN was clearly well ahead of the game for Evan Williams. Time will tell if he beat much, but given this start he should pick up another race or two before the others catch up.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Perth Gold Cup Meeting - Sunday June 1st 2008

Going: Hurdles - GOOD (Good to firm in places); Chase - GOOD TO FIRM (Good in places)

This blog is rapidly becoming a Perth and Hamilton focus, since my time has been limited and I’ve not been able to catch up with meetings at the other Scottish venues. I’ll endeavour to put that right in the next couple of weeks with updates posted.

A packed house for Perth’s premier meeting of the season, with the Perth Gold Cup as the centre piece. ‘Flaming June’ was hailed by a drizzly day as the rain moved north, the ground becoming slippery which caused problems to a number of the contestants, with four casualties in the area of the stands’ bend. The weather had been dry and pleasant in the preceding days, so the moisture on relatively dry ground caused problems.

2.20 Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle (2m 4½f )

This event was dominated by Irish trained runners. Their trainers presumably welcome the chance to avoid the huge fields in Irish maiden and novices’ hurdles, and can be found raiding the likes of Perth, Hexham and Cartmel on a regular basis, particularly at this time of year.

RECOVERY MAN won this with a bit to spare. Having been a late starter he’s progressed nicely over hurdles and his trainer spotted a nice opportunity here. Given a soft lead at a steady pace, he was only seriously challenged by Hi Density, and went away from 2 out to win without being asked a serious question. I’d expect him to
take a novice event under a penalty.
FLEMROSS made progress from the sixth but never got to the winner. Staying on nicely for second place the suggestion is that a stiffer test of stamina will help.
HI DENSITY won a weak mares’ intermediate event here last time and found the opposition tougher. She ran well enough to suggest she can win again back against mares, if a suitable event can be found.
STYLISH SHOT has had a few chances over hurdles and basically ran to previous form, staying on having never got near the leaders.
CORKAGE shaped well in bumpers last year, and took a chance at Cheltenham, but was well held on his hurdling debut. He was not far away three out, but couldn’t offer a challenge from there.

2.50 0-115 Handicap Chase (2m)

MANHATTAN BOY has decent record over fences, 34241621, his only real miss being when ‘tongue-tied’ for the 6, and seems to be progressing nicely. He was brought through smoothly approaching the straight and won with a bit more in hand than the 2 length margin suggests. Given further progression I’d expect another win this summer.
SEEYAAJ has stayed on well for second here and is competitive in these events, but it wouldn’t surprise me if his trainer took advantage of a lower handicap mark over hurdles. His last hurdle race was a creditable second to ludicrously well-handicapped Palomar, and off a mark of 104 I’d look to bet if he runs in a two mile handicap hurdle.
MEDIA MAN was a comfortable winner of a moderate maiden chase here last month, but pushed on nicely here with a decent run for third. He led to two out before running out of steam and looks a prospect for a handicap win off his mark of 96.
YANKEE HOLIDAY may just be held by the handicapper right now. He ran prominently but had nothing extra to offer in the straight.
HO PANG YAU was held up early, moved up down the back straight and briefly threatened to get involved, but couldn’t sustain the challenge. He’s a 10 year old and was making only a second chasing appearance, but wouldn’t be a total lost cause in a low grade handicap or novice handicap over fences. Given his form figures he’s likely to be running at decent prices.
TOM’S TOYBOX raced prominently until squeezed for room and slipping on the stands’ bend. He’s in good form at the moment and, since he seemed to suffer no ill effects, this run can be ignored.
CAULKEY’S BANK slipped and came down on landing over the water. A combination of the two horses coming down in the area resulted in the water being omitted in subsequent chases.

3.20 0-105 Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (2m ½f)

TRANOS recorded a first ever win Flat or hurdles. Having been up with the pace from the start, Tranos kept on better at the death than Eumene or Cast Iron Casey. The three were clear of previous winner Pay On which may prove significant.
EUMENE got into the argument fairly late on which, given that he is probably suited by a longer trip, wasn’t a surprise. Moved up in trip he should be capable of a win.
CAST IRON CASEY ran well enough to confirm the form of his last time out win and will continue to be competitive in similar events.
ANOTHER AMBITION from Tony Martin’s stable was made 6/4 favourite, but looked to be under the cosh when coming down 2 out.

3.50 Perth Gold Cup 0-140 Handicap Chase (3m)

Last year’s event was won by Tamarinbleu, but it seems unlikely there was anything quite that progressive in the field. There were a few younger chasers to look out for, but in the end the raft of 7-year-olds chased home two more experienced performers.
A previous record at the course of 11323 suggested that BROOKLYN BROWNIE is well at home in the grounds of Scone Palace. Having performed well at the Festival meeting in April, he returned to win this in decent style, moving up smoothly down the back for the final time, leading before the last and holding Snoopy Loopy with a pretty decent bunch 13 lengths or more behind the two. Brooklyn Brownie will presumably go up in the ratings but his current mark of 120 suggests he will still get in the better events at this course and is always worth consideration here.
SNOOPY LOOPY ran a cracking race in second, leading into the straight and keeping on once headed before the last. He’s a 10-year-old, but doesn’t have huge mileage on the clock. Peter Bowen is well clued up on placing his chasers, and will presumably have a campaign mapped out this summer.
MEGATON ran a creditable race from the bottom of the weights. Another Peter Bowen runner, he stayed on for third place having been held up. This was a rise in class from his previous runs and he coped with it well enough. A current mark of 115 looks ripe for exploitation in lesser company.
COMMERCIAL EXPRESS has now raced here for 7 consecutive outings. He’s been a bit frustrating recently. Having been held up he stayed on for fourth. This was certainly better than his previous two efforts and offers promise for the summer campaign.
OUT THE BLACK was another staying on without threatening the leaders. He has a sound record of 4 from 14 over fences, but a 5lb rise for his Ascot win took his mark to 132 and makes his task a bit tougher since it takes him out of 0-130 class.
THISTLECRAFT ran a decent race in sixth, racing in contention to two out and would appreciate a drop in class.
MCEVOY led to four out, but it was hard work leading s competitive field and he gave way t that point. He would be interesting allowed the lead in a smaller field.
LANKAWI slipped on the stands’ bend which had been sanded after the previous incidents.

4.20 0-125 Handicap Hurdle (2m 4½f)

I noted ENGLISH CITY from a promising return at Kelso. On much more favourable terms he turned round the form with his Kelso conqueror Paradise Bay. He stayed on too well for the rest over the last two here. He strikes me as one who normally gives his running and, even with a rise in the ratings, should remain competitive in similar races.
PORTAVADIE had been having a wretched time recently, being lightly raced and really struggling. However, this was a much better run, staying on determinedly in the straight to take second place. He’s yet to win a handicap, but this run suggests he’s capable of taking a handicap hurdle. If he goes chasing again I’d need to be convinced he’d got his act together over fences.
PARADISE BAY went up 19lbs for his Kelso win and the extra burden seemed to tell here since he had no answer to English City from 2 out.
SUMMER SOUL plugged on past tiring opponents for fourth. Possibly needs a bit of a drop in the ratings.

4.50 0-125 Novices’ Handicap Chase (2m 4½f)

I’ve been ‘banging on’ about STRAVAIGIN since February and she has blossomed since being raced on faster ground. This was a significant rise in class for Jim Goldie’s mare, and she acquitted herself very well. Jumping nicely in front, she led to 2 out and battled on if not quite as quick as the first three. Her effort in ‘senior company’ at Cartmel showed a lot of promise. Given that the ground stays fast and with a drop in class I’m sure Stravaigin hasn’t finished winning yet. A step back up in trip would do no harm.
LOITA HILLS is lightly raced and progressive. He’s 6311 from 4 races over fences and showed enough here to suggest there are more wins to come. He was driven out to win, but I get the feeling there was more in the tank and he goes on the ‘Horses To Follow’ list.
NEWBAY BOB, who had been pointing and hunter chasing in Ireland, put in by far his best effort under rules here. He’d been off the track for two and a half months which may have been helpful.
SPIRIT CALLING battled well to win here in April and remains in good form. The form looks sound and this one doesn’t seem too high on 108 so prospects for the summer are good. The value of his form is possibly shown since his previous chase placings had been in decent sized fields (13/14).
BEAU SADDLER, debuting over fences, was prominent early but found these too good. His jumping looked sound enough, but a longer trip and drop in class would help.

5.20 NH Flat Race (2m ½f)

Based on the previous runs of the winner and third the form can be taken at face value.
PRESENT GESTURE, a winner in Ireland last time, won nicely and future prospects now depend on how she jumps hurdles.
ONE MORE GYPSY stepped up on a promising Bangor run, chased the winner up the straight and is going the right way. Every chance of picking up a similar event soon.
KINNAIRD PARK stayed on well up the straight and performed at pretty much the same level as his debut. He’s a brother to Sapient who was a chase winner over further, so I presume a longer trip over obstacles will help.
TIME TO PANIC and TRITON were found out for speed in the straight.
The favourite QUACITY appears to have wonky steering, since he hung left all the way. Given that disadvantage he probably didn’t do badly to beat half the field, and it will be worth watching to see if Lucinda Russell can cure the problem.
ROCKING ROD became another victim of the slippery stands’ bend.