Thursday, 25 September 2008

Perth - 2008 Finale Day 1

PERTH – Wednesday September 24
Going – Good to Soft (good in places, and soft in places in the back straight)

2.25 2m 4.5f Maiden Hurdle

As is often the case in these events there were a handful competitive and the rest making up the numbers.

IT’S TOUGH was a bumper winner earlier in the year, so entered this race with some proven racing credentials. He was held up early and made smooth progress to join the leaders after 3 out. Challenging the leader before the last he asserted on the flat and gave the impression there was something left in the tank. He was a cheap buy as a foal, and the mare’s only other runner was of little account, but It’s Tough is going the right way and running from a stable that may make the best of his ability.
DIAMOND FRONTIER didn’t do too much wrong. Following the pace, he took it up 3 out but found the winner too good at the business end. I’m sure he’ll find a race over hurdles before long.
QUAIL ran a respectable race in third. Another sitting near the pace he was well clear of the remainder if one paced from between the last two. He still has some growing to do and there will more than likely be better to come in future.
SOLWAY BAY stayed on through beaten rivals for fourth, though 25 lengths down on the third.
Irish challenger PRESENT GESTURE is twice a bumper winner but didn’t really impress on hurdle debut. He had been off the course since May, but more might have been expected.
BARON BREEZE set the early pace, jumping big at a few flights. He cocked his head before some of the flights and did not look keen at times. He weakened from 3 out and finished well behind. This one has some ability but his wayward tendencies need to be corrected.
The remainder were slowcoaches making up the numbers.

3.00 2m 0-115 Novices’ Handicap Chase (water jump omitted)

BRAVE BRONCHO has been a bit up and down this year, though is useful at this level when on his game. On this occasion he led early and bowled along in front. He did hit a couple of fences, but was still leading, if looking tired, when taking a heavy fall at the last. Thankfully he got up from that mishap. Provided he didn’t scare himself too much, he’s competitive at this level.
FREDDIE THE THIRD was made favourite on his chasing debut, but having whacked a couple mid race dropped out over the last ¾ mile. He needs to get his jumping act together to make a mark.
NOTRE CYBORG was patiently ridden, moved through smoothly over the last three and probably would have won even if Brave Broncho hadn’t departed. This ground was probably about as soft as he’d want it. He may record another win before the rains return.
CARTHYS CROSS has a disturbing succession of seconds in his form figures. He ran well enough, but I do wonder if he puts it all in at the business end.
GO SILVER BULLET raced prominently but couldn’t go with the leaders in the straight. This was a debut for the Russell stable and showed some promise. It doesn’t stretch the bounds of possibility that he’ll win a similar race before long.
JUSTTHEONEFORYOU plugged on into fourth but never figured seriously. However this was an acceptable jumping debut and the chances are there is better to come in the long term.
ATHOLLBROSE ran quite respectably from 19lbs out of the handicap, being near the front until 4 out. That being said his jumps form does not make promising reading, a 2nd of 3 in a novice handicap hurdle the nearest he’s come (beaten 19l+ in all other jump efforts), so he’s probably not betting material even at the lowest level.
CASTLE CRAIGS was another out of the handicap and he struggled.

3.35 2m 0.5f Claiming Hurdle

A very moderate event.

NICKI BOY made progress at halfway, challenged in the straight and proved keener than the runner-up on the flat. This is his grade.
ROMAN VILLA was making a quick return to racing after finishing second in a chase at Sedgefield on Tuesday. Having been held up, he was brought to have every chance but either couldn’t or wouldn’t muster the pace of the winner on the flat. He’s one out of 20 in jump races and looks one to oppose.
SUMMER SOUL led at a steady pace and was one paced once headed.
NEVSKY BRIDGE weakened from 2 out. His rating is 87, so the fact that he was competitive for a long way here against higher rated opponent suggests he may be of interest in the lowest handicap company.
FRITH ran well for a way, but has never got closer than 30 lengths behind the winner in hurdle races.

4.10 3m 0-120 Handicap Chase (water omitted twice)

SOUTH BRONX had put in some moderate efforts this year. However, a move up to three miles didn’t do any harm here. Having led to 2 out he came back again and plugged on sufficiently to hold sway in a desperate finish. The big question here is can he reproduce this form?
HOOPY made a fair debut for Gordon Elliott. He was waited with and didn’t get into the argument until between the last 2. He just failed in a grinding finish.
GOLDEN CHILD harried the winner for much of the way. He led two out and kept on once headed. For a debutant taking on experienced chasers this was a decent effort and it’s likely he’ll show better.
MINELLA TIPPERARY plugged on in fourth, having just been tapped for pace down the back for the last time. Three of his wins have come at tracks with stiff finishes.
JUST IN DEBT was hunter chasing last spring and a return to that company early next year may be his best chance. He wasn’t quick enough from 4 out.
SANTANDO didn’t really get competitive, fading as the race began in earnest.
Hat-trick seeking CEBONNE ran a poor race. HE was untidy at a few out the back and though making a token effort 4 out, fall away very quickly. Possibly it was a mix of a 15lb rise plus a couple of recent races did for him.
CATCH THE PERK raced prominently for a way but faded and pulled up. He seems to have settled into a pattern of one good race then one not so good recently. I wouldn’t write him off just yet.
BOBBY BULLOCK was in the rear but had made a little progress when falling at the eleventh. This was his chasing debut and jury remains in deliberation over this one. He did show a little promise as a hurdler and as a 6 year old has time on his side.

4.45 2m 0.5f 3yo Novices’ Hurdle

The newcomer proved too good for those with hurdling experience.

NINE STORIES did the job very nicely on debut. Brought to challenge two out, he eased past previous winner Rory Boy between the last two and ran on to win with plenty in hand. He’s well capable of winning against the stiffer opposition which will surface in coming months.
RORY BOY did precious little wrong in repeating the level of his previous form. He just found the winner too good in the straight.
SKI SUNDAY blew his chances of troubling the first two by pulling hard in the early stages. His early exertions meant there was nothing left in the tank when the front two upped the ante. If he settles then there is a hurdle to be won with him.
Taking a break from making the early pace in Classics, MAIDSTONE MIXTURE found the double penalty too tough a burden here. He weakened from 3 out.
ABBEY EXPRESS is a tearaway. He didn’t look keen going away from the stands, but stayed in front until the fifth after which he beat a hasty retreat, and was overtaken by Maidstone Mixture close home. Clearly quirky his trainer will struggle to get a win out of him.
JUMPIN JOHNNIE looked about as talented as his 100/1 price suggested.

5.20 3m 0.5f 0-115 Handicap Hurdle

An open looking event which was probably won by the sharpest jockey on the day. The first five finished close suggesting they are all handicapped pretty much to their level.

MR PREACHER MAN set a steady pace to the 8th, at which point Peter Buchanan nudged him clear. From then on it was up to the others to chase him down. Mr Preacher Man had enough left in the tank to hold off all comers over the final two flights. He certainly didn’t lack for determination at the finish. The problem is that the race basically fell into his lap, and things won’t always go so conveniently.

BAILEYS ENCORE challenged two out and stayed on; FLYING DOCTOR was prominent all the way and kept on.
SOLWAY MINSTREL made progress from the back to challenge in the latter stages but was held on the flat. He’s been seen infrequently in recent times, and came off a lay-off here, so there may be hope of better. Getting on in years now, time is not on his side, but there’s hope of a third lifetime win.
MANOUBI probably led briefly between the last two but then gave way. This was his first hurdles outing for a while and, 3lbs out of the handicap here; it may be possible to exploit his lowly hurdles mark in a staying handicap.
BUCK THE LEGEND was made 11/8 favourite here, which may have had a bit to do with being from the Twiston-Davies stable. He very nearly came down when slipping on landing three out and must have lost 10 lengths, so to finish no more than 6 lengths adrift probably wasn’t a bad effort. Worth keeping an eye on, particular in novice handicap company.

5.50 2m 4.5f Maiden Hurdle

The 8yo mare TIME FOR PERKS hurtled off in front, but was cooked by the sixth and quickly fell away. Her form is dire.

DIABLO won an NH Flat race here in April and a similar event at Uttoxeter. Perhaps a shade disappointing on hurdle debut, he made up for it here, following the leader before taking over after the sixth and running on in the straight. He’ll encounter tougher opposition, but is going the right way.
PROSECCO showed much promise on stepping up in trip. The suggestion from previous runs had been that an increase in distance may help and so it proved. He got forced across the last hurdle as the winner ran down it, but was well held on the flat.
QUINY BOY challenged three out but couldn’t muster enough to trouble the winner. He showed promise in testing conditions in France so the chances are that a stamina test will fall his way sometime.
GRANDE MONSIEUR progressed to 4 out but was then left behind.
PAS DE BARATIN was high enough in the market to suggest a decent chance, but he disappeared quickly from 3 out and was pulled up.
The remainder are slowcoaches who were strung out like washing on a line.

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