Tuesday, 28 October 2008

CARLISLE - Thursday 23rd October

Going - Heavy

With the hurdle course remaining out of action Carlisle presented another chase only card. The next scheduled meeting will be the same. Once again the second fence out in the country was omitted.

Rain fell and made the going very testing. A few poor runs can probably be ignored, but the effort here may have taken its toll on a few.

2.10 2m 0-95 Handicap Chase

A very ordinary contest to start the afternoon.

LERIDA’s previous form contained a couple of competitive performances, but also a lot of dross. He was described by a Racing Forum correspondent who rode him for a while as a “so-and-so”, so it’s debatable whether he’ll repeat this form next time. That being said he did the job well enough here, taking up the running 6 out and, despite the rider dropping his whip, kept on well.
ROYAL GLEN and BOG OAK confirmed their relative form from the last Carlisle meeting ROYAL GLEN was the last to give way not matching the winner on the flat. A return to Hexham may help since 4 out of 5 of his wins have come there.
BOG OAK built on the glimmer of promise shown last time and put in his best performance for a while to finish a staying on third.
ITALIANO ran well for a long way. This was a decent effort after a lay-off, and he was missing for two years before that. Given those circumstances this was as promising a run as any in this field. What ability he has clearly remains so there’s hope of a victory.
NATIVE COLL ran better than previous effort here, but is still short of his best.
TOULOUSE EXPRESS runs often but is not a prolific winner. He regressed from his previous effort here and doesn’t seem a betting proposition.
HOLLOWS MILL once again showed little.
NICOZETTO has form over longer distances. His early jumping was a bit sketchy but he did settle down and was in with a chance when hitting three out. He went backwards after that but may well be capable of better if he gets his jumping together, and if moved up in trip.
WHATCANYASAY ran no sort of race. His best form is on good and fast ground at Sedgefield, so this form can be put aside.
WATCH THE WIND was always out the back.

2.40 2m (Class 3) Novices’ Chase

This looked a decent novice event, with many hurdles winners and Astarador’s novice win here to measure against.

I got the impression last season that it wouldn’t be long before CROCODILES ROCK moved on to chasing and this evidence suggests he’s a useful prospect. He looked a bit tired, so may benefit from a break now, but considering he’s likely to be better over further this was a decent effort. I’d expect a step up in trip and improvement to go with it.
ASTARADOR won here well enough last time, allowing for the fact that he was given a start, and lost nothing in defeat to a useful opponent. He’s not been stopping at the end of either chase here and should benefit from a step up in trip.
RAYSROCK was held by the first two, but is another interesting prospect that is worth noting on the northern circuit. He found the first two had too much for him from 2 out, but he’ll come on for the race and looks a ready made winner.
LEASE LEND made a satisfactory debut, will likely come on for this, and is another I would expect to benefit from a step up in trip.
THE SHY MAN found this tough at the minimum trip. His Hexham run suggested he was crying out for a step up in trip and he looks like one who will need a trip around three miles to be seen at his best. Keep this one in mind.
TORKINKING was way below the level of his hurdle form and well held on his second effort at chasing. Placement may be a problem, and much may depend on what chasing handicap mark he’s given. On evidence to date he would struggle if placed near his current hurdle mark of 133 and since he’s 9 years old time is not on his side.
CASH MAN is probably capable of winning a chase at his level but found this way too tough.
SMART STREET has mainly disappointed since going chasing. A change of stables doesn’t seem to have improved things and a watching brief is advised.
The Johnson duo of PENDLE FOREST (unseated rider 4 out when remote) and UNCLE MICHAEL are wasting their time and energy in this company.

3.15 2m 5f 0-100 Handicap Chase

The four handicaps on the card were won by those at or near bottom weight, and TEENANDO took advantage of bottom weight minus Tjade Collier’s 3lb allowance here. This was nice progression from his Uttoxeter second. He pulled hard, but had plenty left at the business end and may well progress further even allowing for a rise in the weights.
SAMMY SPIDERMAN ran respectably in second without seriously threatening the winner. The dam stayed 3 miles is related to jumping winners so there would seem every chance he’ll progress possibly over a longer distance.
ROSIE ALL OVER jumped better than at Hexham, but found things tough up the straight. She is at least going the right way and has the look of a chaser.
THAI VANGO raced prominently, but found things tough from 3 out. This was a respectable debut over fences.
OH PICKLES at least got round this time, but may need more time.
STRAVAIGIN has proved time and again that she struggles in these conditions and it was no surprise that she pulled up. Her best chances will probably come at Musselburgh where the ground is seldom testing.
GLACIAL RAMBLER and COLDWELLS found it too tough from a mile out and pulled up.
CONTENDO and KARLANI didn’t show and pulled up.

3.45 3m ½ f 0-130 Handicap Chase

Not a bad event for midweek at Carlisle.

THE GANGERMAN had run some decent races over fences last season but it took until this race to lose the maiden tag. He’s not blessed with lightning speed, but then we are talking staying chaser and he stayed on determinedly up the hill for victory. His consistency can’t be faulted and I’d keep him in mind for tough tests this winter.
ROYAL MACKINTOSH, as intimated previously, benefited from the previous outing and got competitive here. He’s lightly raced and may well be on a decent mark for similar events.
BALLYVOGE made most of the running before being overtaken at the last. After a lay-off there was nothing wrong with this run.
LUCKY NELLERIE generally gets competitive in staying chases in these parts. On seasonal debut he ran out of steam over the last two.
HUKA LODGE weakened out of contention with a mile to race. He does win in his turn but tends to mix them in amongst some naff performances. Anyone looking for a winner at a long price could do worse than keep him in the notebook.
SILVER SEDGE probably found the combination of heavy ground and the stiff track asking too much.
DOC ROW is not showing encouraging form.
LAERTES won the Highland National in April at Perth with the winner back in third, and probably needs further than this. He fell away from 3 out.
I really ought to follow FIRTH OF FORTH, since I can see both the Forth bridges from home. However, I wouldn’t be in danger of backing a winner on current efforts. He did at least get round for the first time in five, but showed only a glimmer of signs of a revival.

4.15 3m ½ f (Class 3) Novices’ Chase

Not much strength in depth for the prize money.

TOT O’WHISKEY built on the promise of his second over 2m 4f last time. He’s going the right way and should score again.
HOCKENHEIM had been let down by his jumping on three previous chase outings. However this time he jumped well in the lead. He tired and blundered at the last, but loses nothing in defeat and looks a ready made winner of a similar event now his jumping is in order.
HARRY WOOD ran respectably in third. The McCain stable normally know what to do with their chasers and should place him to advantage.
MISTANOORA faded to fourth and recent evidence suggests he’s not as good a chaser as he was over hurdles.
GRITTI PALACE found these too good for him. He might be interesting if aimed at a novice handicap.
MR BARNACLE went well to three out before fading. He should be capable of better in time.
SACRED MOUNTAIN found the step up from maiden hunter company a tough one. He pulled up very early. However, it’s significant that he has twice pulled up on seasonal debut in points, so may produce better next time.
MOYNE PLEASURE was out of his depth on his second outing over fences.

4.50 3m ½ f 0-95 Handicap Chase

A hard slog in churned up conditions for a bunch of slow-coaches.

TOY GUN had only successfully cleared one fence in his last two chasing efforts. He did at least prove he’s not bad if he can negotiate the obstacles, a hurdling fourth at Hexham having offered a degree of encouragement. He did this well enough and, while he’s still not reliable betting material, he at least showed he is competitive in these lowly staying events.
GARLETON ran a couple of decent races in the spring and ran to the form again here. He was miles clear of the other two finishers and there must be a bit of value in the form. Providing his trainer aims low there’s a small chase in him.
MR TWINS reverted to plodding mode after his exertions over a shorter distance. The towel went in as the runners approached the final climb.
PANTHERS RUN has given a glimmer of hope at times, but there was nothing optimistic as he struggled into a distant last of four finishers.
Of the others, only ALTO STRATUS offers much encouragement since he was making a forward move when exiting at the ninth. It was a first non-completion, so it might be worth forgiving this effort.
FISHERMAN JACK may well have paid for a tough recent race at Hexham and pulled up.
PRESENTING ALF didn’t build on a fair third at Hexham and looks very moderate.
EXIT TO SAUMUR has given no encouragement in five efforts to date.
SANDS RISING jumped untidily, soon losing touch and pulling up. The stable’s runners at the meeting were either outclassed or ran poorly.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Kelso - October 18th

Going – Good to Soft

A meeting which often turns one or two useful novice performers for later in the season, and I’m quite sure this will prove to the case once again.

2.10 2m 6 ½ f 0-100 C.J. Handicap Hurdle

A moderate event to start the card. Most of these were exposed, but there might be some interest amongst the more lightly races horses, and it was one of these that was victorious.
BOX WALLAH was eased into contention before three out, led at the last and produced enough on the run-in. Sadly he finished lame having severed a tendon and had to be put down.
HUMOUROUS is not a prolific winner, but does have a respectable record at Kelso. Having been passed two out he responded well and kept on close home.
JANE DOE raced prominently early, and then found herself tapped for toe a mile out, but stayed on again late. This was a vast improvement on her recent form.
KIRKSIDE PLEASURE kept on from two out to finish fourth and was another performing much better than in recent runs.
MERIGO ran a promising race on comeback. This was presumably a warm up before a return to chasing. He’s likely to be competitive in chases where the accent is on stamina.
ADMIRAL SAVANNAH, handicap debuting on his fourth outing over hurdles, was in the rear early, moved up to be in contention 2 out but could then offer no more and finished ninth. The longer trip suited and he’s gradually getting the hang of hurdling.

2.40 2m ½ f Maiden Hurdle

Those that had previously run over hurdles had mostly looked moderate and the race seemed at the mercy of those progressing from bumpers.

DOESLESSTHANME had won nicely at Musselburgh and Doncaster last season, the latter form being franked by the second in a decent bumper at Aintree. There was plenty to like about the performance here, the horse settling nicely just off the lead, going on three out and asserting on the flat. He should pick up a novice event under a penalty.
SON OF FLICKA, twice runner-up in bumpers this season, raced in the leading group of five which was clear of the remainder. Pushed to go with the winner before the last, he stayed on but couldn’t muster Doeslessthanme’s pace. However, this was a satisfactory debut and he should lose his maiden tag soon.
TIRAAZ TO CARBURY represented the previous hurdles form with credit. He was well held once passed but ran up to his form.
PAKINEO DES PICTONS possibly needed the race and was found wanting after the turn for home. He’d gone well enough to that point and shows promise.
BORDER REIVER stayed on late into fifth having raced off the pace. He’ll benefit from a step up in trip.
The remainder were 50/1 plus in the betting and their performances reflected this.

3.15 2m 1f Beginners’ Chase

A big spread of ability here.

KALAHARI KING was progressive over hurdles last season, and had always been thought of as a potential chaser. He was confidently ridden to take command on the flat. He will presumably be aimed at must better contests.
CAST IRON CASEY ran a cracker in second, staying on well up the run-in to snatch second. This was a step up on his hurdles form, but the problem now could be placement, since the rating he receives from this will presumably force him into the better class novice chases.
BYWELL BEAU set the pace, but as before over fences here jumped right, diving at a couple, and that certainly didn’t help since he often had to be corrected after the fence. He was held after being overtaken on the flat, though kept on with plenty of determination. He’s not one that gives up a lead easily. It seems that he may need a right-handed track, and the problem is that of the Northern tracks that gives him only Carlisle, Musselburgh (only 8 meetings) and Perth (not racing again until April). Even then it’s a question of finding a suitable event.
LORD SAMPOSIN raced near the front but was struggling when departing two out. He needs to find an easier race, but has shown enough in the past to suggest a minor chase is within his compass.
FRITH plodded into fourth. His performances over jumps have not suggested a win is imminent.
SPIVITUS was in fifth and his recent outings have not been encouraging.
ATHOLLBROSE raced prominently early, but soon found the pace too much to cope with.
ISLAND KEY fell at the second. He had shown a glimmer of hurdling form and if he can get round is not a total lost cause.
SUMMER SOUL did himself no favours by almost coming down at the first, and he was never in the race. He may show a bit more in time over fences.

3.45 2m ½ f 0-115 Handicap Hurdle

A generally exposed bunch, though it could be that the more lightly-raced winner is progressive.

NODFORM WILLIAM raced prominently, took over three out and saw off the opposition nicely in the straight. He’s capable of winning again.
MANEKI NEKO, a winner at Cartmel in August, ran up to his new mark in second. He made good progress from three out and chased the leader on the flat.
CALCULAITE never showed with a chance of winning but picked off a few in the straight.
FLORENTINO was settled in second, and then left in front at the third. He couldn’t offer enough once headed four out but kept on well enough to bag minor prize money. He has some flat outings in the summer and this was an improvement on his last two hurdle races.
KING IN WAITING tried to get into the race between the last two, but his effort petered out. Given that he was coming off a lay-off, and has been dropped 6lbs in the meantime, he may be worth a glance in his next couple of runs.
SEEYAAJ, returning to hurdling, was disappointing. He went prominent at the fourth, but was soon niggled along and fell away quickly, pulling up before two out.
MONSIEUR was made favourite, but he has too many quirks for my money. He led racing keenly, but dived at the third and unseated. Despite his placed form I’ll continue to oppose him.

4.15 2m 6 ½ f Novices’ Hurdle

The dreaded ‘Kelso low sun’ struck here and the two flights in the straight were omitted. This meant that only 6 flights were jumped.

As with the earlier maiden hurdle, the race was dominated by those progressing from bumpers. DOOR BOY was going very well before the last, and asserted no the half-mile run-in. He’s another horse bought by Graham Wylie for a fancy price, in this case 185,000gns, and will presumably be aimed at much tougher events.
MERRYDOWN chased the leader in the straight. He didn’t do too much wrong and should win a staying novice hurdle.
BANOGE has not been worse than fourth in 9 efforts in NH races. However he lacks pace at the business end, although probably found two quite decent opponents here. I reckon his best chance is in handicap hurdles under stamina testing conditions.
KEENE SPIRIT faded in the straight and ran to about the same form as his hurdling debut over 2m 1f at Sedgefield.
WATERSKI normally sets the pace and did so here before being swamped on the long run-in. He had no chance in this company. On evidence to date a selling hurdle is probably the best chance of victory.

4.50 3m 1f 0-105 Handicap Chase

The last fence was missed out due to the low sun, and the omission of the open ditch away from the stand second time following Graham Lee’s ejection by Greenock, meant that only 15 fences were jumped.

RYMINSTER’s recent record after a break of 6 weeks or more now reads 211211, and his record otherwise is U422UP329, figures which tell their own story. I really couldn’t see why he should be allowed to start at 14/1, but it’s such circumstances that can give us an edge at times. He was given a peach of a ride by Brian Hughes. Ryminster is not one who any more than he absolutely has too and he was nursed by Hughes, picking up gradually on the leaders from 5 out and taking over on the run-in, only being urged along close home. He’s on a career high mark now but, given the right circumstances, I still think he may have enough in hand to win even if raised a few pounds.
FESTIVAL KING was last seen running disappointingly at Cartmel, and has yet to record a win over fences. However, he didn’t do too much wrong here and having settled chasing the leaders he kicked on after the last and battled back once headed. He’s getting the right idea now and should pick up a staying chase before long.
I thought LOST IN NORMANDY might struggle here, but he ran a creditable race in third. He was headed after the last but plugged on. Getting on in years now, but maybe not a lost cause in lowly company.
MALKO DE BEAUMONT, a winner over the minimum trip at Carlisle, fell away after 3 out, and may have been appearing a bit soon after his last run. He was shunted up 9lbs for the Carlisle win which seemed harsh for winning a so-so race.
BEAU SADDLER fell away after the tenth. He has now swapped stables, but this doesn’t seem to have brought about a revival.
HUCKLEBERRY was taken on for the lead here, having beaten lesser animals at Hexham before, and was starting to feel the pinch when falling at the last. A 10lb rise for that Hexham success seems rather harsh since there were some mediocre performers behind.
GREENOCK stood off too far at the third, the open ditch going away from the stands, and as he almost came to a halt Graham Lee was jettisoned out the front. This fence seems to find out a few horses. The general level of his form is moderate and the jury remains out.
CASH ON FRIDAY was struggling with a mile to go and pulled up before 2 out. His last three runs have been poor.

5.25 1m 5f 3yo NH Flat Race

There aren’t that many juvenile NH Flat races this early so it’s difficult to know the plan of campaign with these. Bumpers are normally quite decent events here, so I’d certainly keep an eye on the first three in future.

Alan Swinbank’s apparent second string CHICKINI took this, going past her stable mate and holding off Coeur De Feu in the final furlong. She looked a bit green in mid race when asked to up her pace. Once she got into her stride though she showed a good turn of pace. One event that might be a target is the juvenile bumper at Cheltenham’s New Year meeting.
COUER DE FEU stayed on well in second and didn’t do much wrong.
IF YOU KNEW SUZY, stable companion of the winner, set sail for home two out but could summon no extra once headed.
Ironically, given that he was beaten by two from the Swinbank stable, BISHOPS HEIR is a half brother to Turbo Linn. He stayed on for fourth and will benefit from an increase in distance.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

An autumn trip south to Hexham

HEXHAM – Saturday October 11th
Going – Soft (Heavy in places)

My first visit to Hexham and a venue which in the main gained my approval, but with a few qualifications.

Viewing is generally good, but I couldn’t find a place where I could get a decent view of the entire course. I settled for the steps of the Club Enclosure, but even from there much of the run-in was obscured. The spectator does have a fine view of the back straight and although the course is basically stiff in nature, there is a significant downhill section on the far side where horses can get outpaced. A stiff westerly windy gave a bit of a chill, though one of the regulars told me that it was positively tropical by Hexham standards.

It would be helpful if there were more covered areas since this is an exposed venue and at the mercy of the elements. The Ramshaw Stand is basically a big building with a load of bars and function rooms. The viewing was not brilliant and it rather redefines the usual idea of a stand. My wife is an occasional racegoer and as with many courses she found the lack of seated areas an inconvenience. As seems to be the case with weekend meetings there were too many of the ‘how much beer can we drink’ brigade. On the positive side paddock area is easily accessed and very popular, and the unsaddling enclosure area intimate enough for a bit of ear-wigging post race conversations.

The course catering left a bit to be desired. Lukewarm steak and kidney pie and peas didn’t impress, and the ‘home-made’ soup was unlikely to have come from anyone’s home. I paid £1.50 for a cup of instant coffee for which the ingredients probably set the caterers back only a few pence.

The racing, while not being of a great standard, was competitive and entertaining. The going was testing, though some professionals seemed to think it didn’t ride quite as tough as the description might suggest, and horses seemed to get home well enough.

2.15 2m ½ f Beginners’ Chase

A pretty ordinary event, but won in impressive style by Howard Johnson’s chasing debutant STRIKING ARTICLE. In retrospect he didn’t have much to beat, with his main market rival clearly needing a longer trip. However he could hardly had won this in easier fashion. Bowling along in front he jumped very well, if just a little sticky at the water jump, and had the race in safe keeping from a long way out. A big strong sort who looks to have been crying out for a try over fences, he should go on to bigger and better things.
THE SHY MAN had winning form over 2m 4f-2m 6f over hurdles and clearly needs further. Looking a real picture for his seasonal debut, he was outpaced down the far side but stayed on well up the hill to wrest second place on the run-in. There’s better to come with a step up in trip.
JAMIE’S BOY went second three out but was caught after the last. This is probably as good as he is and novice handicaps would appear to be his level.
CARRIETAU probably paid the price for chasing the leader and eventually tired into a well beaten fourth. There was enough promise to suggest we’ll see better from him and as a 5 year old has time on his side.
WISE CHOICE was never in the race. He’s better on less testing ground.
NEVSKY BRIDGE was being stretched when coming down at the eighth fence and has yet to make a mark over fences.
PENDLE FOREST was struggling before halfway and pulled up. She reportedly had a breathing problem.

2.45 2m ½ f Mares’ Only Novices’ Hurdle

A distinctly uncompetitive event won easily by the clear form horse.

LAURELDEAN MELODY disputed the lead before taking over 2 out and soon going clear. She kept up the gallop for a comfortable win. She’s consistent at her own level.
MISS CHAMPAGNE stayed on into second place, an improvement on her previous hurdling efforts. If nothing else she did split two previous winners. The jockey and trainer’s post-race conversation along the lines of "she'll jump a fence" suggests she may well be sent chasing soon.
SKY CALLING disputed until 2 out but was then left behind and caught for second on the flat. A fair effort but this is probably as good as she is.
NEW TACTICS was in the rear then made progress at the sixth but never got close enough. Her ability would seem limited but she may be helped by a step back up in trip.
The rest produced very little of any promise. MISS TARANTELLA, a rather scrawny looking mare, looked to hate the tongue-tie in the paddock. She jumped awkwardly at the second and her saddle slipped at which point she was steered off the course.

3.20 2m 4½f 0-110 Handicap Chase

My initials thoughts were that this would fall to one of the chasing debutants. If I’d taken care to check point-to-point form then possibly I’d have favoured the winner, but then again isn’t hindsight a fine thing?

SILLY WUPPLE was a point winner with some fair hurdle form and a NH Flat win in his record. He made a couple of messy jumps but pressed from 3 out and stayed on after being switched left to challenge on the flat. His rider Tom Scudamore was cautioned for overuse of the whip. That being noted, he lacked nothing at the business end and may well progress to win again with the experience under his belt.
JUST FOR MEN made a creditable return after a lay-off. He took the lead on the uphill run to the last, but was overtaken again on the flat. Given that the race will have brought him on a win would seem around the corner.
BALLYNURE disputed or led for much of the way but was one paced once headed up the hill.
INNOMINATE jumped slowly at the fourth and dropped to the rear. Having recovered position he almost came down at the ninth and although eased back into the race found a further effort beyond him. He showed promise over hurdles and with more chasing experience should progress.
SOMETHING GOLD chased the leading group until being outpaced from 3 out. A fair enough return and worth keeping an eye on at least.
ROSIE ALL OVER looked as if she would benefit from the race. She went well to three out then faded and will be fitter for this run.
LORD ON THE RUN never showed and is struggling at the present.
FIRST FOUGHT was behind and was receiving reminders when hitting the seventh, after which he quickly fell away. I got the impression he’d pulled up but apparently he continued in a remote last.
LETHEM PRESENT set the early pace and out jumped her rivals but was headed by the seventh and pulled up before the eleventh.
OH PICKLES lost touch down the back straight for the final time and pulled up.

3.50 3m 0-100 Handicap Hurdle

Not a strong pace on here, and all were going comfortably with a circuit to travel.

Sue Smith did very nicely here, bagging first and third. The winner WHATDOIDOWITHTHAT looked very fit and did the job well on the track. Racing prominently then leading at the ninth, he ran on well to see off his rivals. This gelding stays well and has form with give and on top of the ground so there should be plenty of opportunities.
MANOUBI had shown some promise of a return to form at Perth and ran creditably here. Having moved into a clear second, he chased the leader on the flat. He’s well exposed and probably handicapped to about his mark but is in good form just now.
Third-placed LUCOZADE had moved from Robin Dickin to Sue Smith and been absent for 549 days before this. He had shown only a glimmer of from previously, but turned out looking really fit and well he acquitted himself admirably from 11lbs out of the handicap. Progressing from the rear down the hill towards two out he couldn’t quite get to the leaders and was unable to sustain the effort in the straight. Nevertheless this was a fine effort and there is hope that Lucozade can build on this form.
TOY GUN, an angular gelding who had decked his rider early on in his last two chase outings, set the pace to the ninth and then plugged on for fourth once passed. He was subsequently reported to the stewards as having been injured, but there were no further details.
There wasn’t much of any promise from the rest of a fairly moderate bunch. SHANKLY BOND was never in contention and pulled up, with a report that he’d lost his action.

4.25 2m 4 ½ f Maiden Hurdle

A fair amount of dead wood in this event.

The favourite YOUNGSTOWN walked lazily round the paddock, rather scraping his feet. However, he proved completely different on the track and soon pulled his way to the front. Jumping rather scratchily, he weakened from 3 out. He needs to settle better.
BLACK MOGUL had run some decent races in defeat and showed admirable determination to hold off the less experienced second on the run-in. Very relaxed in the paddock, he settled nicely in second, led briefly up the hill before being headed again, but battled back. He’s got a good attitude and should continue to be competitive.
ANY CURRENCY, a bit fussy in the paddock, looked likely to win before the last but was outbattled. He should have no problem picking up a race.
PROSECCO never quite got to the leaders and was found out by the hill, plodding on into third.
ORMUS was going well two out, but couldn’t produce a further effort. His best chances lie in handicaps.
GRANDE MONSIEUR looked fit but was rather cussed before the start, planting himself for a while and delaying the start. Niggled at halfway through the race he stayed on late.
It was tough to tease out any promise from the remainder.

5.00 3m 1f 0-90 Classified Chase

A pretty desperate staying event, with the ages of two of the major contenders adding up to 27.

TULLY CROSS, have the age of the third and 6 years younger than the second, built on a fair performance behind Huckleberry here last time. Having been niggled for a way he moved into contention three out and stayed on better than his rivals from there. Connections are unlikely to find many such opportunities for him.
FISHERMAN JACK is running creditably for a 13-year-old. He went on three out and threatened to get away, but headed at the last he couldn’t offer any more.
Last year’s winner, 14-year-old MIDNIGHT GUNNER, led jumping well until three out, then the hill did for him and he weakened into third. He’s still giving his owners a bit of fun and seemingly retaining his zest for racing if rather slow these days.
AUGUST ROSE was still in touch when thumping three out which finished her chance. A fair effort in her first chase and she’s not completely without hope of a minor chase wins.
REASONABLY SURE was in touch when giving the third last an even bigger clout than August rose, and he was immediately pulled up, though there didn’t seem to be any lasting damage.
COOLDINE LAD hasn’t completed in four efforts since Feb ’06 and offered precious little encouragement here once the race started in earnest.
ABZUSON hit the second very hard, sending his rider up in the air, but being considerate enough to remain around as Brian Hughes came back down. He was soon behind and pulled up a mile out. I had to check the records on this one since Lee Mackenzie initially called him as a finisher, but then maybe I should have noticed he’d missed the last four!

5.35 2m ½ f Intermediate NH Flat

A few fair pieces of form from previous races from those on show here.

BYGONES OF BRID showed some promise on debut and leading 5f out, scooted clear once turned for home. His performance under a penalty will be a gauge of the form.
TIGER MOSS missed 2007-08 but performed well after the lay-off. She looked fit enough and stayed on for second having raced prominently.
STICK TOGETHER put in two decent placed runs last season before being out of her depth in a Listed race at Sandown. She stayed on from the rear from third. She clearly needs a longer trip, so keep an eye for a hurdle outing over a longer distance.
CAMPINE ROSE kept on into fourth.
BALLYBART, placed in two Irish points, looked in need of the race. He took on the leader from 4f out but paid for that effort in the straight. He showed enough here to suggest he’ll go close in similar company once fitter.
FORREST LEMONS set a decent pace until 5f out, but folded quickly and doesn’t look as if he stays the distance.
QELQUN DE CHAMIREY, shipped over from Ireland, looked to need the race and never showed.

All Steeplechase Card at Carlisle

CARLISLE – Friday 10th October
Going – Good To Soft (Soft in places)

The flat/Hurdle course needed time to recover from a rather damp Flat season, so Carlisle served up an all-chase card. Due to on-going drainage work the second fence down the back was omitted in all races.

The races turned into a slog in the rain-softened ground, the ground easing steadily throughout the afternoon. It might be worth noting some of those which raced prominently then fell away, particularly under less testing conditions.

2.00 2m 0-100 Handicap Chase

MALKO DE BEAUMONT has shown form over three miles, and didn’t get into the picture until the straight. Staying on into contention three out he kept up the gallop to the finish. A move back to a longer trip will help him.
TOULOUSE EXPRESS, possibly suited by the conditions, performed much better than of late. He raced prominently, led at the eighth and led on the lfat. When passed he had nothing extra to fight back.
ROYAL GLEN stayed on late for third, but was never in with a chance of winning. He’s had four wins at the minimum trip round Hexham and might be owrth a glance if returning there in the near future.
I’M YOUR MAN led 4 out, but was very tired at the last and folded on the run-in. He found things tough close home here and will do better on an easier track.
BOG OAK was never in the argument and fifth was as close a position as he reached.
EBORARRY led early, but never got a clear lead and once passed found it all a bit too tough.
HUGS DESTINY and IT’S BERTIE were others to show up well early but folded in the latter stages.
HOLLOWS MILL, NATIVE COLL and TIN HEALY’S PASS made no show. CUCCINELLO lost touch from halfway and pulled up.

2.30 2m 4f Beginners’ Chase

This race was run at a decent pace, so it was a creditable performance from the winner KILLYGLEN who raced prominently the whole way. He led 3 out, but still seemed destined to be swallowed up. However, having he saw off the opposition determinedly and the evidence suggests he can pick up a novices’ chase under a penalty.
TOT O’WHISKEY had some sound hurdle form, and turned in a decent show on his first chasing effort. He stayed on well in the latter stages but couldn’t quite get to the winner. A good start and he seems a ready-made chase winner.
HIGH BIRD HUMPHREY was rated lower than the other principals over hurdles. He made progress to challenge two out but could find no extra on the flat. A very good effort and is another who should find a race.
GOLDEN CHILD ran a decent race in handicap company on his chasing debut, and confirmed the promise with a sound effort dropping back in distance here. He lacked a bit of pace close home, but a return to three miles will help.
CHECKERBOARD led but made some sloppy jumps at times and possibly paid the penalty for that, fading over the last two fences. He will come on for the run, but needs to sharpen his jumping a bit.
YOUNG ALBERT never got into the race.
WILL BE DONE raced prominently for a long way but weakened to finish out the back. He came a cropper twice in four runs in Ireland, but his jumping was better here and the McCain stable should be able to produce better in time.
POKER DE SIVOLA never looked happy in the rear. QUW’S LAW went well to 4 out and then folded, but he did sling in a couple of below par runs over hurdles before bouncing back. (QUW’S LAW was subsequently reported as having a breathing problem.)
LUCIUS RUFO dropped back swiftly after being prominent early.
JASS never got competitive and eventually unseated 3 out when well behind.

3.05 2m 5f 0-95 Handicap Chase

A moderate event with the first two stepping up significantly on recent efforts.

It’s likely that SEEK THE TRUTH was suited by the stiff test here. He’d shown only moderate form on easier tracks but was prominent most of the way here, staying on to see off his nearest challenger. This wasn’t a great race, but given similar conditions he’ll stay competitive.
MR TWINS had been out of sorts for some time. In fact it’s the best of a year and 12 runs since his last placed effort. It may be that the stiff test here suited, but he’s not one I’d trust to repeat the form next time.
MISTRAL DE LA COUR chased the leaders but was well held in the latter stages.
RECKLESS VENTURE is suited by this sort of test, but couldn’t get to the leaders from 5 out. He’s a bit short of the mark so far this autumn.
ARCTIC COVE plugged on to pass a few late, but was never in the race.
NICKY TAM came there very comfortably 4 out, but fell in a heap from 2 out. He still has something to prove, although he might progress given time.
FRED BOJANGALS, reported as unsuited by the ground, and NEIDPATH CASTLE never showed and finished well back.
LUCE BAY was well beaten on all previous efforts and folded from the seventh, soon pulling up and offering little encouragement.
RING OF BEARA was soon in the rear and receiving reminders. He was pulled up before the tenth. He had some decent form in Ireland in testing conditions, so might be worth keeping an eye for signs of a revival. He was subsequently reported as having been struck into, so it seems the run can be ignored.
SHULMIN fell at the third.

3.30 2m 0-125 Handicap Chase

A competitive handicap chase.

The most significant piece for form here may belong to the eventual last, STONERIGGS MERC. He’s ideally suited by further over a less tough track, so to be up the front for a long way in a competitive event was to his credit. Having led or disputed from the start he weakened quickly from 3 out. He will find much easier opportunities than this in conditions which will be more suitable.
GLINGERBANK was kept in touch, moved up steadily to challenge at the last and held on well on the flat. His record suggests he doesn’t stand too quick races, so it could be there will be a break before his next appearance.
SOME TOUCH made a very pleasing comeback here, leading or disputing with Stoneriggs Merc before taking over from 4 out. When headed by Glingerbank he battled back well and should find a race soon.
SEEYAAJ stayed on from the rear to take third, followed by FIRST LOOK who also ran on from well back.
MISS PROSS had every chance 3 out but couldn’t raise here game from there. This is probably about as good as she is, and she looks held on her mark of 114.
CANTGETON was generally placed in midfield and couldn’t raise the pace to challenge the leaders.
HUSH TIGER made no show and needs a drop in the weights to figure.
KIT CARSON hit the sixth hard and unseated.
TRIBAL DISPUTE ran no sort of race and pulled up. His visits to the curse have been intermittent and it’s 3 years since he showed any decent form.
YANKEE HOLIDAY pulled to the front group early on but was soon struggling. He had a tough task at the weights and wouldn’t have relished the conditions. I’d forgive him this run. He needs a less stiff track and a drop in class to figure significantly.

4.05 2m Novices’ Chase

The start here was a complete shambles and it should have been declared a false start. Tell Henry whipped round and got in most competitors’ way, but this was all that was reported at the subsequent enquiry and no action was taken. The question I would have asked of the starter was “Why didn’t you call a false start?” Maybe that’s just too obvious!

The result of the trouble was that ASTARADOR got a start on the others and was settled in the lead jumping well. The field closed by 4 out, but the leader had plenty in the tank to see them off. It wasn’t a bad performance though, and given that he was a decent handicap hurdler last season he’s probably capable of moving up from this.
THE DUKE’S SPEECH came from another parish to finish second. He’s dotted back and forth between chases and hurdles, but hasn’t yet been seriously competitive in a chase.
CAVERS GLEN stayed on for third from well back, but is now 0 from 19. Off a mark of 95 he had no chance here anyway, and his best opportunities would seem to be in novice handicaps.
MASTER NIMBUS took on the leader from 4 out but simply wasn’t good enough. He paid the price for his efforts fading into fourth, but could be considered a ‘moral second’ for his efforts. He has shown enough in two chases to suggest there is a minor novice event to be won with him.
ALL FOR THE CAUSE chased the leader but could not go the pace from 4 out. He was behind Master Nimbus last time and the form here is probably worth about the same.
TELL HENRY lost his chance at the start and did passably well to finish 21 lengths adrift. On the face of it, assuming he is more co-operative in the future, this was a reasonable return to the track and better should follow.
EARL SIGURD, rated only 78, kept up valiantly to 4 out before the effort told. Minor handicaps are his best chance.
ART HISTORIAN made no show and his recent efforts over jumps and on the flat offer little encouragement.
HIGH STAND LAD was behind until falling 3 out.

4.40 3m ½f 0-115 Handicap Chase

SEE YOU THERE bounced back from a succession of ordinary runs. He’s a dour stayer who is best over a stiff track with cut in the ground and was recording a fourth course win. His other win was at Hexham. Having been waited with he stayed on up the final hill, and battled gamely when challenged on the flat. He stays further than this, and will be competitive in staying chases in Scotland and the North for the next few months.
SUPER ROAD TRAIN was outpointed on the flat but lost little in defeat. He doesn’t run many bad races and will always have a say in these conditions. He’s another who stays further.
BUSHIDO raced prominently and plugged on into third. This was by far his best run since missing the half of 2006 and all of 2007. He has won staying chases and is no lost cause off his current mark. He may be slightly better on an easier track.
CADOUDALAS looked dangerous four out, but was fell away from two out. This was a fair effort on his chasing debut and the chances are there’s better to come. He was effective at 2m 4f to 2m 6f over hurdles, so a drop in trip may help.
JONNY’S KICK and BLACKERGREEN were never seriously involved in the race.
EMERALD DESTINY and SEA CADET were in otuch to halfway but dropped back and pulled up.
FREDDIE THE THIRD set the pace, but put in a succession of poor jumps which eventually took their toll. He weakened quickly from 4 out and soon pulled up very tired. His previous races had all been around the minimum distance, so a drop back may help, but he needs to get his jumping together.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Hexham coming up

We're staying near Newcastle over the weekend and taking in Saturday's Hexham meeting, assuming the monsoon doesn't hit in the meantime.

I won't be able to catch up with Friday's all-chase card at Carlisle until next week, but I'll post some notes from there when I'm able. I'm finding that concentrating on the Northern and Scottish chases enables me to take a glance at many races and get a fair idea of how things will work out. Mind you, rather than making things easy, it tends to make winner picking only fractionally less difficult!

KELSO's seasonal opener

KELSO – Sunday October 5th
Going – Good (Good To Soft in places)

Kelso opened it’s season with an average card.

2.20 2m ½ f 100-125 Hcap Hurdle

On the face of it quite a competitive heat, but in the end the field were well strung out and a few disappointed.

BORDER TALE is a difficult performer to tie down. He had run a moody race at Perth and his recent form was generally below his best. It is perhaps siginiicant though that James Moffatt’s stable was reportedly under the weather, and this could be a sign that the string are getting over their problems. Border Tale was able to lead the field here and showed enough in the straight to see of his rivals comfortably. Problem now is that he will be hiked up a fair way for the win and it’s likely he’ll struggle off a higher mark.
DAY TO REMEMBER stayed on to take second. That’s three races running he’s recorded more or less the same value of form. Consistent but not got his head in front in 9 runs since his hurdling debut .
REGENT’S SECRET stayed on from the back as he is wont to do. A fair third, but not one I’d be lumping on in handicaps at the moment. Just behind FRONT RANK ran a fair race in fourth, without threatening over the last two.
QUICUYO made an encouraging seasonal debut, being in the firing line to two out then fading. I’d expect him to step up on this form next time.
HISTOIRE DE MOUERS ran well to 2 out but then faded and it may be that se’s now held by the handicapper.

2.50 2m 6 ½ f 88-112 Handicap Chase

MORE LIKELY won a novices’ chase nicely here early last year, but her form has been patchy since. She probably needs things to go her own way, and on this occasion she was able to dominate in the latter stages, though the departure of two significant rivals may well have helped. A significant rise in the weights beckons after a 17 length victory and it will be much harder from now on.
ANDY ANSHAN won a minor hunter chase at Newcastle in the spring and seems to be steadily progressing. Couldn’t go with the winner from two out, but this was only his sixth race under NH Rules and he’s going the right way.
GETINBYbUTONLYJUST looks handicapped to the mark at the moment. He may well appreciate a stiffer test then this.
EVEN FLO’s form is up and down, and she’s 13lbs above her only winning mark.
DOC ROW was well held over the last ¾ mile and is not threatening a win over fences yet.
ROYAL MACKINTOSH may well have needed the run. He went well to three out, but a mistake finished his chances. Worth keeping an eye on now his seasonal debut is out of the way. Stable mate CUPID’S MISSION was well outclassed in this company.
POLAR GALE departed at the second fence.
STRAVAIGIN was still close up when falling 4 out. She’s consistent when the ground is good or better, but does chuck in a mistake or two, and is probably handicapped to her form.
Having been outpaced a bit, NGONG HILLS was getting back into the argument when brought down by Stravaigin. He has shown some promise in six outings and there is hope of a win sometime.

3.25 2m 6 ½ f Intermediate Hurdle

GRAY MOUNTAIN produced a couple of promising performances in minor events at Perth earlier in the year. He stepped up significantly on that form here, going clear nicely on the run-in. A flat career in America is not often a pre-cursor to a hurdles career, but Lucinda Russell has a very interesting prospect on her hands for better class novice events this season.
PAGAN STARPRINCESS has had a habit of finding one too good, but lost nothing in defeat here running up to previous form.
NO PANIC ran a promising race in a handicap at Galway last time, but had no answer to the winner here.
KING BARRY ran a respectable race in fourth if lacking the pace of the front three on the flat. The race won’t have done him any harm and I assume he’d go back over fences next time.
The rest of the field were well held.

4.00 2m ½ f 3yo Novices’ Hurdle

Chances are this was a pretty moderate field with a few remote by the finish.
SILK DRUM beat off the opposition with the minimum of fuss. He might just be under priced against stiffer opponents.
RIVINGTON PIKE set the standard for the form in the book and was well held. He’s lacked any ‘oomph’ at the business end so far over hurdles and it might need a drop to a claimer or seller before he can record a win.
STOP ON Ran a respectable race in third, but didn’t inspire on the flat and I’d need to see more.
The rest were basically ‘out with washing’. Silk Drum’s more favoured stable mate RIO NOVO, an 80,000gns purchase, dropped away swiftly from halfway and presumably had a problem.

4.30 2m 1f 73-99 Novices’ Handicap Chase

This looked a poor event before the start and seemed to fall into the lap of the winner.
RED MAN RAY was given a soft lead, and nothing to him. His jumping was less than perfect and I’m pretty sure he would struggle if pressured.
HO PANG YAU’s presence in second place says much about the quality here since he’s proven as moderate.
DUKE OF MALFI showed a little promise and as a 5 year old has time to develop. At the moment he’d need a very soft race to score, but perhaps worth keeping an eye on.
ATHOLLBROSE kept tabs with the winner for a way, but as in the past ran out of steam.
ZA BEAU had some decent form at this level in the summer, but is struggling now and, having chased the leaders, fell away in the latter stages and was pulled up.
ART INVESTOR looks no better over fences than his poor hurdles form, while DESCRIPTION and ARCTIC COVE were never in the race. MORE SHENNANIGANS raced prominently for a while but disappeared in the latter stages.

5.00 2m 2f 78-98 Novices’ Handicap Hurdle ( 4 hurdles omitted due to low sun)

Possibly not the toughest assignment against this company, but MAX BYGRAVES’ performance could not be faulted. Stayed on well up the lead and will likely improve for an increase in distance.
FLAMED AMAZEMENT was visored for the first time and improved on recent form. He led until the flat but couldn’t hold the winner. Future prospects may depend on the headgear doing the trick again.
SUDDEN IMPULSE showed her first significant form over hurdles. She’s run well enough on the flat of late and may be in a position to pick up a similar event.
SOLWAY BAY ran an honest race but lacks pace. Might be worth aiming at a bigger test of stamina.
PINEWOOD LEGEND was nursed into fifth, but reported as having a breathing problem.
The remainder were well held. BRAVE BRINCHO gave no encouragement on return to hurdling after his heavy tired fall at Perth.

5.30 2m ½ f NH Flat Race

These events are normally quite competitive round here, and it would be no surprise to see a subsequent winner or two emerging.

McMURROUGH brought previous winning form into this and his experience clearly helped. He had a good duel with the second which will have taught him a lot.Even allowing for an extra penalty he might pick up another similar event before going on to jumping.
SITTING TENANT ran a very creditable race in second, making the winner work all the way. Was very easy in the market, but has more than enough ability to pick up a similar race.
FORTYSECOND STREET like so many of his stable inmates cost a few bob. He ran a fair race in third, weakening in the latter stages. He’s capable of winning a bumper, but the stables runners are often under-priced and I’d be tempted to oppose him.
QUICOLACI showed promise, fading in the latter stages but finishing fourth.
ZERO SIX ZOO seemed very green and may need a bit of time. She stayed on in the latter stages. One to note, but not yet one to back.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Hexham - October 3rd

Going – Good To Soft (with subtle variations!)

The first in the back straight was missed out in all chases.

2.50 3m 1f Novices’ Chase

An interesting staying novices’ chase.

Allowing for the fact that the second, That’s Rhythm, had already raced over fences then the performance of the first two probably reflected their hurdles level of form.
ACCORDING TO PETE, a decent handicap hurdler rated 132, won nicely here. Jumping neatly and taking the lead at the twelfth, was joined by the second at the next but went on two out and pulled away from the second approaching the last. Though being chased determinedly, he stayed on plenty well enough and is an interesting prospect.
THAT’S RHYTHM lost nothing in defeat, being outpointed by a performer rated 8lbs better over hurdles. His was brought steadily into the picture down the back for the last time but was outpointed in the straight. He jumped well enough and stays well so there are races to be won.
ZITENDA apparently had a fair bit to find with the leading two. He found it hard work from 3 out having raced prominently, but he’ll find easier opportunities. He just held on in a battle for third with Belon Gale.
BELON GALE, an Irish point winner earlier in the year, was beginning to progress when making a blunder at the thirteenth. From then on it was a tough job and he never got to the leading two. Given that it was a first outing under rules it’s likely there’s more to come.
CHARMING KNIGHT hit form in Northern points toward the end of last season, and recorded a decent second in a novice hunter chase at Perth in May. He led or was prominent up until the thirteenth but then found more accomplished opponents had too much and was outpaced. He probably paid the penalty for being raced prominently, but this was a promising effort and I suspect there is better to come.
OMIX D’OR found this tougher than his Perth race and fell away from the twelfth before pulling up. He needs a drop in class.
CHARLIE CRAB is reportedly considered a bit “old fashioned” and “ignorant” by his trainer, so it would seem he will need a bit of time. He departed at the eleventh having jumped a bit stickily. I’d keep him tucked away in the mind for the future.
SUPER BOSTON was prominent for a way but had not an earthly in this company.
The Mulhall pair of CLOISTERS HILL and PENDLE FOREST were out of their depth here.

3.55 3m 1f 0-95 Handicap Chase

The eleventh fence was missed as a jockey was receiving treatment, which reduced the contest to 16 obstacles.

I felt that HUCKLEBERRY’s performance at Cartmel had shown a good deal of promise. As on that outing he raced prominently, was untidy at a couple but basically jumped well enough. Having led or disputed he went on from 3 out and ran on well after the last. He’s improving with experience and I’m sure there’s another win or two in him given his current mark.
ALTO STRATUS didn’t do much wrong in second. He challenged two out but was just outpointed. He saw off the rest well enough. The trip clearly holds no terrors and the hill didn’t stop him which augurs well for staying chases at this level.
PRESENTING ALF ran a fair race in third. He stayed on from 4 out, and had a chance travelling up the hill, but could offer no extra. Given an uninterrupted campaign he should find a small race.
TULLY CROSS moved into second at the twelfth. He was still there two out but got tired and only just clambered over the last. This could be the limit of his ability.
HIGH FIVE got closer than at Cartmel, chasing the leaders but eventually weakening into fifth. He has won in this class, though it was in heavy ground which may blunt the speed of the opposition.
GREAT GRIMSBY was disappointing and failed to repeat Sedgefield form.
TOY GUN fell at the second, having departed at the first here last time.
GOT THE GIFT fell there out but was never in with a chance.
JETHRO TULL coming back from a break after a period of injury, wasn’t put into the race and the impression was it was just a try out to see if he could stand the race. He pulled up 4 out but seemed sound.
MR TWINS raced prominently but predictably fell away and pulled up. PANTHERS RUN and SAM CRUISE didn’t figure and both pulled up.

5.05 2m ½f 0-95 Handicap Chase

A pretty dire looking contest with clear reasons to oppose practically everything in the race. Ninth fence was missed due to an injured jockey meaning only 10 fences were jumped.

NORMINSTER was dropped down in distance here. He had shown glimmers of promise at times, but recent form over longer trips of PFP and 31 runs without a win didn’t augur well However he provided Rayson Nixon with a welcome winner. He was prominent by the seventh, challenged two out and battled hard to see off the pacemaker. He may win again, but will need another soft contest.
EBORARRY made the pace until before the last. He jumped better than most but lacked the pace at the business end. His best chance might be to find a small field contest where he can dominate the opposition.
TIN HEALY’S PASS plodded into third late on. This was a better run than he’s produced recently, but more is required to have a winning chance.
RECKLESS VENTURE finished fourth and that was as far forward as at any time in the race.
EARL SIGURD made some progress three out but didn’t get to the leaders. He’s not own since 2001, and would need a pretty dire event to break the losing run.
WOODY VALENTINE got reminders early and was never a threat.
TOULOUSE EXPRESS ran slightly better than last time, but faded to seventh in the latter stages.
TERMPTING PARADISE, a Plumpton winner last time, was prominent for a long way but weakened and pulled up 2 out. Although he hadn't hit the stiffest part of this track he's not run well at Exeter or Towcester either and the evidence suggests a sharper track would help.
CHUKCHI COUNTRY ran prominently early but fell in a heap after halfway and pulled up.
HARRY MAY raced prominently to 4 out but was then outpaced and pulled up 2 out.
CROFTON ARCH and DOUBLE PASTwere briefly prominent but pulled up. ROMAN ARMY was never going and pulled up early, and 67-rated I’M GUNNER BE FINE was foiled by the first.

In the hurdle races Howard Johnson’s ON RAGLAN ROAD doddled up against moderate oppostion. A step up in class beckons. I’d noted DREVER ROUTE as one who would need time when he appeared in Musselburgh bumper last December. Those who saw him at Hexham suggest that he had benefitted from the period since and he did a nice job in a fair novices’ hurdle.
NEVSKY BRIDGE proved a weak finisher again in the selling hurdle won by Irish challenger HAWKSBURY HEIGHTS and is worth opposing unitl showing more determination in the closing stages. Difficult to know what will happen with the winner since selling class seems his level.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Sedgefield - September 30

Going - Good; Weather - windy and rainy.

A couple of chases and a few characters we will see around the Northern circuit in the next few months.

4.00 2m 4f Beginners' Chase

This looked a significant race to me, and the first four all did enough to suggest there's a race to be won with them.

COOL OPERATOR was a winning pointer as a four-year-old and won a hurdle last season. He's always been viewed as a chaser in the making. He jumped right at the first and gave the eighth a bit of a thump, but apart from that his jumping was spot on. He contested the lead from early on, jumped in front at the tenth and cruised clear from 3 out to win with any amount in hand. We're very early in the season, but this looked a decent performance and I look forward to seeing Cool Operator step up in grade.
OVERBRANCH improved on his chasing debut at the last meeting. He had no chance with the winner but pulled away from the other principals in the straight and is goig the right way.
WISE OWL chased the leaders for most of the way but found himself tapped for pace from 3 out.
NORBORNE BANDIT led or disputed to the eleventh but was under pressure at that point and fell away from the third last. He previously made a promising chase debut in a handicap and would be intesresting if dropped back in trip.
CASH MAN showed some promise oer fences last season but was never in the race here. He was always in the rear group and had no chance from the tenth.
DON'T ASK ME was not as good as a number of these over hurdles. He contested to the tenth and then fell away.
SIR MONTY had an Aintree hurdles win to his name last season, but has offered precious little encouragement since. Soon under pressure, he struggled here.
RIGHTFUL RULER was another always in the rear group.

5.00 2m 4f 0-110 Handicap Chase

GOLDEN FEATHER made it three in a row, held up early then being urged into the action from 3 out and pushed out to win on the flat. He may still have a little in hand.
FRED BOJANGALS has up and down form but has a chase win to his name. Leading 2 out he kept on but was held by the in form winner. This is probably his optimum distance.
SCHINKEN OTTO is a fast ground specialist and it's possible the rain didn't help. He led until the tenth and didn't give way easily, since he was still not far away at the last but was held on the flat. He's been dotting back and forth between flat and jumps in recent times, and this run was encouraging after a lay-off. His best chance of getting his favoured ground this autumn might be at Musselburgh which rides faster than other courses in Scotland/The North.
GLIMMER OF LIGHT threatened to win a seller at Hereford a couple of runs back, but departed when clear. Apart from that he's not got close, but his best chance maybe if he can dominate against inferior opposition.
WHATCANYASAY may well have needed the race and dropped away from 4 out.
PRINCE CAR struggled early and pulled up. No promise in two chases otuings so far.

There's Hexham coming up on Friday and then Kelso start their season this coming Sunday 5th October. I can't get to those two meetings, but I'll keep an eye on the racing, particularly the chases. I'll be at Hexham for their meeting on the 11th.