Tuesday, 2 September 2008

August Odds And Ends

Due to other commitments I haven't been able to do any updates for a while.

Here are a few odds and ends from recent weeks.

I missed out on Bank Holiday Monday visit to Newcastle after the downpours led to the abandonment of three consecutive meetings at the course. One of the Hamilton meetings went the same way. Most of the racing in August has been taking place on rain softened ground.

Alan Swinbank came with an interesting maiden winner at Hamilton last week in OZONE TRUSTEE. Swinbank horses which haven't seen the course by the age of 4 are often aimed at Bumpers. However, this one may have been considered better at the shorter trip, or indeed better than bumper level. He really only had the quirky Buddhist Monk to see out of the way here but did it comfortably. It wouldn't surprise me if he progresses enough to a handicap win or two. BUDDHIST MONK doesn't seem to have the right attitude and looks one to oppose.

At Hamilton on August 22nd ROTHESAY DANCER was once again teamed up with Kelly Harrison. Harrison record on this mare is 27 rides, 4 wins and 11 places. Rothesay Dancer needs bringing through late. May now need to drop a pound or two but keep this one in mind for next season.

LOS NADIS won the handicap hurdle on the Saturday at Cartmel, but still showed sketchy jumping. The phrase 'bunny-hopped' appeared in the form comment, so things aren't getting any better. This won't have been the most competitive race and I reckon this one might be under-priced in subsequent outings.

On the Monday, Jeff Sadik won the race named after his son Gus with DESERT TOMMY. Held up out the back by Richard McGrath, Desert Tommy stayed on to win this with any amount in hand. It wasn't a great race, but this one clearly stays all day and even raced 12lbs might still be worth a glance in similar races over the coming months. Only four finished, and the other three were out on their feet by the end. HIGH FIVE led early, but tired and finished a distant fourth. At the lowest level he is at least competitive and probably needed the race here. HUCKLEBERRY, on only his second chasing effort, put in by far his best performance to date. Given that he's only 6 years old then it's a fair assumption that there's more to come. As an inmate of the McCain stable he's in the right hands for a chaser and is likely to notch up a win or two.

The rest of the Cartmel, while being entertaining for jump fans, wasn't of much quality.

Meanwhile on the level at Ayr, KILLER CLASS is a sprinter who has progressed respectably. He won his Ayr race and handles soft going well. There's a possibility he might be one for a sprint at the Western meeting later this month.

Another that might be aimed at Ayr in late September is CHARLES PARNELL. This one ran a couple of respectable races over 7 furlongs. He goes just as well over 5 furlongs, so it might be worth checking where he is placed at Ayr, since he was a winner at the meeting last year. ESOTERICA was in second place, three in front of Charles Parnell, and this was a decent performance given that he is probably best on faster going (soft here). He would need some sun this month though.

At Musselburgh(August 31st) PRINCESS ELLIS ran a cracker from the worst of the draw in a Class 3 sprint. She has kept her form very well through three campaigns and looks one for another win before long. May be aimed at a sprint at Doncaster's Leger meeting. She's been placed in a Listed event, and is plenty competitive off a current mark of 85. ROTHESAY DANCER was down the field, but it was tougher than here normal level.

The Hamilton 'Series Final' Handicap on Sept 1st looked a decent event but KING OF THE MOORS came home clear and it might be worth sticking with this one in the short term. WIND SHUFFLE who was third, likes to dictate the race and will find easier races.

Other races on cards at Scottish courses have been Class 5 and 6 and I haven't found too many pointers at this level. Older horses are exposed and the younger horses are generally those less talented anyway.

I hope to take in at least one day of the Ayr meeting, and possibly one day at Perth's final meeting of the year. I've got Hexham pencilled in for October 11th and we'll have early meetings at Kelso by that time as familiar faces from the Scottish and Northern jump start to appear again.

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