Going - GOOD TO FIRM
After a bit of a break, the Northern jumpers are back. Sedgefield's card included two moderate chases.
2.40 2m 0.5f Novices' Chase
Plenty of action early on with three departing at the first fence. Chase debutant IS IT ME set off in front, but crumpled on landing. The following ARTLESS, last seen sending Denid O'Regan into orbit over hurdles at Perth, had nowhere to go and was brought down. Meanwhile in behind LINDSEYFIELD LODGE came to grief independently. ELLERSLIE TOM nearly joined them and struggled to get into the race afterwards. I think the latter can be given another chance.
Twice a previous chase winner, ORPEN WIDE led the field jumping well. He came under pressure on the last turn, but produced plenty in the straight. Battling well under pressure, Orpen Wide came away on the flat for a deserved win. He had a 12lb penalty here for his two wins, so this was a creditable effort.His problem now will be a combination of novice race penalties and a high looking mark of 129 hindering his opportunities.
Irish challenger ROMAN VILLA had been below form in recent efforts over hurdles, but put in a decent run here on his chase debut. He had every chance but was held form the last.
MASTER NIMBUS oved into contention two out, had every chance at the last but was one paced. A decent chasing debut and I suspect he's a chase winner in the making.
ALL FOR THE CAUSE finished 9 lengths behind Master Nimbus in fourth, but was never seriously in the contest.
FILM FESTIVAL raced prominently early but fell away and this didn't match up to his previous chase form.
4.10 2m 4f 0-105 Handicap Chase
This race was run at a decent pace. Some didn't jump particularly well, but EBORARRY jumped boldly in fornt. He looked a sitting duck before two out but in the event battled hard and finished a creditable second. It would have been third if I'm Your Man hadn't capsized at the last, but still a decent run giving hope of a win in modest company.
I'M YOUR MAN was brought smoothly through from 4 out. He looked to have collared Eborarry at the last, though Golden Feather was hovering, but got was low at the fence and came down. He's generally a pretty decent jumper. This aberration can probably be ignored and he has every chance of winning again while in his current form. He's fairly versatile as far as ground is concerned so he should be ready for opportunities in the coming weeks.
Evan Williams has done nicely with GOLDEN FEATHER in the short period he has been in the stable. Not the first time Williams has secured significant improvement with a new inmate. He moved into contetion before four out, and once I'm Your Man departed, zoomed past Eborarry on the flat. He will presumably be shunted up a few more pounds, but there still seems every chance of another win or two.
DOWNING STREET probably found this trip on the short side. He made steady progress over the last few fences to take third. His jumping was better than previously which offers encouragement.
FIRST FOUGHT had been running in selling hurdles before this. His jumping was a little untidy at times and once the race began in earnest he couldn't go with the principals.
BLAST THE PAST's record over fences before this was U1PF2, so when he gets it together he's competitve. Looked to have a chance but then whacked two out and came home in his own time. He's got ability and is worth keeping an eye on.
And of the others...
MOOR SPIRIT is out of form right now and lost touch from 3 out.
PRINCE CAR, and expensive Wylie purchse, showed a little promise over hurdles, but showed little on his chasing debut. He was scrubbed along at the end of the first circuit and faded from there.
PRESIDENT PARK was behind all the way and pulled up.
CHIGORIN has some fair chasing form to his name but was never in this.
POLAR GALE was prominent till fading from 4 out.
CHUKCHI COUNTRY has gone well here in the past, but having chased the leader cried 'enough' from 4 out.
REASONABLY SURE ran creditably over 7 furlongs farther here last time, but couldn't go the pace set by Eborarry.
OSCAR TRIAL has never got closer than 12 lengths behind the winner to date and this run, well behind from early on, offers precious little encouragement.
The Northern circuit moves on to Perth for the two-day meeting which signals the end of the 2008 season at 'The Scone'.