Saturday, 29 November 2008

Musselburgh - First Jump Meeting 08/09

MUSSELBURGH – Friday 28th November

Going – Good to Firm (Good in places)

Musselburgh began its jump racing for 2008/09 on a bright but chilly late November afternoon. This is the driest area of the UK, Dunbar just down the coast is apparently the direst town in the country, and the going here is often a few degrees faster than for other courses. I’m quite happy to put a line through the soft and heavy ground form recorded elsewhere. Being next to the Firth of Forth the course escapes the ravages of all but the hardest frosts. It was pretty chilly towards the end though, presaging an overnight frost, the effects of which have claimed Newcastle’s meeting as I type this.

The stands’ bend chopped up last season and, despite the ground description, was cutting up again. The management will have to move the rails about to keep the bend in racing nick.

I’ll take this chance to blow the trumpet for Musselburgh. It cost me £13 to get in, saving two pounds booking in advance and the race programme is free with admission. The refreshments here are very reasonably priced, £5.50 for a main course in Pinkies Servery, and none of the snack meal constituents are more than £2. The scotch pie is a delicious example of the local delicacy and costs only £1. There’s the Rosebery Hall Café in the Links pavilion where I purchased a delicious blueberry muffin and a cup of filter coffee for £1 each. Good news for local jumps fans is that the 2009 Fixture List boasts 10 meetings, an increase on the 8 in 2008.

A pretty average days racing but there might be one or two pointers that are useful for the coming meetings at the course.

12. 10 3m ½ f 0-90 Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

A very moderate event to commence the Musselburgh jumping season with only two previous winners in the field. I was rather amused at the paddock when the man next to me suggested, “They don’t look very fired up do they?”

Tim Vaughan spotted a real opportunity here for LITTLE SHILLING, even under 14lbs of penalties. The trip from South Wales was rewarded very comfortably, Little Shilling cruising through the field in the latter stages and coming clear with the minimum of effort and being eased considerably close home. He’ll presumably get a rating of 100 or more now, so a rise in class will be forced. However, he’s in such good heart that another win would not be a surprise.
I felt HOOKY’S HOPE showed some signs of ability last year, and while she isn’t very quick, she does appear to be going the right way. Popping out of the pack two out she stayed on for second. She may have to be aimed very low, but does at least show enough ability and willing to suggest a small event might fall her way.
BAYFIRTH has put in some moderate efforts before this and his presence in third tells us a lot about the lack of quality here. He can presumably be a handful since he had two handlers in the paddock, but he stayed on late which does at least demonstrate he’s going the right way.
MONTCHARA raced up with pace but faded in the straight. It’s questionable if he achieved much in finishing 20 lengths fourth,
GLEN ROUGH followed the pace, but couldn’t respond in the straight.
CINAMAN was cussed at the start, but went to the front once they set off. He was headed when he hit the eighth flight and then plugged on gradually losing touch with the leaders.
ROCKNEST ISLAND was in the rear form most of the way and picked her way through the field late on for seventh. She was a two-miler on the flat, and just stays.

The trainer of the second reported on the phone that “it was a very rough race”.

The commentator clearly has trouble counting since he kept informing us there were 14 flights to be jumped instead of 13, and throughout the afternoon he called the last in the back straight “the middle one down the back”.

12.40 2m Class 4 Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle

No strength in depth here, though the winner did the job nicely.

DON’T STOP ME NOW, wearing a cross noseband, sent to the front and had her field on the stretch by the fifth. The others came back to her on the last bend, but forged away once the runner-up laid down a challenge. The fact that she was aimed at a decent event at Wetherby first time suggests the stable rate her and another win is on the cards. She won over 1m 6f on the flat, so a step up in distance wouldn’t be an inconvenience.
Under favourable terms HOUSTON DYNIMO turned round the form with La Fortalesa and then some. He progressed to challenge before three but couldn’t wear down the winner. He’s progressing and won’t always find such a tough opponent.
The remainder were well seen off. Irish challenger CALL ME AL couldn’t respond from three out.
The Foster clan took a chance to make the short trip from Dalkeith for a day at the seaside. MERRION TIGER, who looked a decent sort to me, was the best performer keeping on into fourth. I wouldn’t be surprised if he steps up on this. Of his stable companions, KARGAN and BOURSE were always behind, and BRIGHT BOYS BRIDE is small and slow.
LA FORTALESA won at Newcastle and looked a good deal more mature than the others, but might find others improving past him. Having chased the leader he weakened in the straight.

1.10 2m 4f 0-105 Novices’ Handicap Chase

Many here were on their chasing debut, and there was a lot of iffy jumping on display. It turned out to be a battle of attrition, even on fast ground.

BOW SCHOOL, who came to racing from the pointing field, hit one early on but raced prominently. Taking the lead at the tenth of 16 fences he led down the straight then gave the last a fearful thump, being knocked sideways, but recovered to keep going on the run-in. His previous third to Tell Henry reads well so there may well be a bit more to come.
FINE PARCHMENT made a very satisfactory chasing debut, particularly given that he was coming off a lay-off of 182 days. He chased the leader from four out and couldn’t raise his game enough when the leader bungled the last. However, he was well clear of a previous winner and should pick up a similar event.
RUN TO SPACE probably found the quicker ground against him here and didn’t get to the leaders.
THE GINGER MAN completed at his own pace, inheriting fourth as opponents departed in the straight.
The non-finishers in race card order:
INDUSTRIAL STAR looked very fit, was in the rear and disposed of his rider at the fifth.
AJAY was never going and pulled up.
MICK FINAN looked held in fourth when falling 4 out.
SNOW’S RIDE had conditions right but didn’t enjoy this, was soon adrift and pulled up after the eighth. He’s shown plenty of ability over hurdles in the past but looks out of sorts at the moment.
HARCAS hit a few and the tenth finally knocked the stuffing out of him, he went little further before pulling up.
TEVIOT LASS was making a little progress when falling three out. She was in the process of running a respectable chase debut and is work keeping an eye on.
HO PANG YAU led for the first circuit, but folded quickly once headed at the tenth. He was adrift when falling three out.
BRONZE DANCER showed no more here than he did in three hurdles efforts, pulling up at the tenth having made mistakes.
JUPSALA is getting no nearer to winning at the age of 11 and pulled up.

1.45 2m 4f Class 5 Maiden Hurdle

An ordinary maiden with many who will struggle to make an impact over hurdles, and they looked a right bunch of ‘liquorice allsorts’ in the paddock.

James Reveley on Jane Of Arc seemed to mistake where the start was, heading off to the two mile start, only realising where the others were when he turned round to inspect what he perceived to be the ‘first hurdle’. That being said the filly was only gently cantering so wouldn’t have wasted much energy.

One who did stand out in the paddock here was DEE CEE BOLTER. He’s a nice strong jumping sort, and being a brother to Waking Ned I wouldn’t expect him to make an impact at this stage of his career. He ended in midfield, keeping on in the latter stages under gentle encouragement.
GLENCREE made in three on the day for Howard Johnson. He made a slightly disappointing debut at Wetherby, but saw off his only serious challenger on the flat here. A step up in trip beckons.
BROADWAY STAR didn’t do much wrong in second; he just didn’t have the speed of the winner after the last. The stable had a similar performer in Guns And Butter last season and found a race for that one.
LE VERT GALANT stepped up on hurdling debut form and the penny is beginning to drop. His bumper form suggests some basic speed, so there’s every chance he’ll pick up a hurdle in future. He stayed on, so this trip and more is in his favour.
JANE OF ARC wasn’t inconvenienced by here round about route to the start. She raced prominently and kept on well enough to finish fourth. There’s hope given time and experience.
DANZATRICE plugged on from the back to offer a little hope on hurdling debut. Her flat from was over extended distances on good or fast ground.
POSEIDON set the pace for a long way before being left behind from 3 out.
HURRICANE JACK made a little progress past tiring opponents late on.
OVERTHROW made little impact and can’t have been helped by a pair of boots that didn’t seem to fit properly.

2.20 2m 0-130 Handicap Hurdle

A decent field for the feature race of the afternoon.

It’s sad to report that MR JACK DANIELLS broke down badly on the flat first flight and had to be put down. The flight was missed out down the finishing straight as the vet attended the stricken gelding.

I rattle on about patterns of course winners, but totally missed AMAZING KING in a race with a few showing decent form. I saw him win here in February off 8lbs less, and he scooted clear after taking it up before the last. He will be penalised but might just be low enough to get into the handicap on the New Year sprint card here. His other target here might be the County Hurdle trial in February.
REGENT’S SECRET, as is his way, stayed on from the rear for second.
ECOLE D’ART made a satisfactory stable debut returning from a season away from hurdling. He led and was still 3 lengths to the good three out, but the effort told in the latter stages. Jimmy Lambe should be able to place him to advantage.
MANEKI NEKO was shunted up 4lbs for his second at Cheltenham and that may be enough to hold him at the moment.
CASTLETOWN BOY ran respectably after a lay-off, having been reported with a vertebra out of line after his Perth run in July. I suspect he will progress from this.
LOS NADIS may have reached an end stop as his jumping isn’t sharp enough for him to make further progress now he’s rated 128.
FARNE ISLAND was dropped right in at the deep end on handicap debut, being 9lbs out of the weights. He looked very well, but a drop in class is essential.

2.55 2m 0-120 Handicap Chase

BEGGARS CAP, a keen walker in the paddock, would appear to have appreciated the move to faster ground here. He was produced between the two leaders at the last, and saw them off with minimum fuss.
MOOR SPIRIT put up a creditable performance in second, staying on once headed. He’s versatile in distance which gives his trainer a few options.
DECEMBER SUN, rather fidgety in the paddock, set the pace until the last and found no more. He is suited by quicker ground and he’s more likely to get that this side of the Irish seas, particularly at Musselburgh.
ALL FOR THE CAUSE had every chance three out but was unable to raise his game.
ORANG OUTAN struggled in the straight. His winning from is on softer ground.
YANKEE HOLIDAY, though attended by two in the paddock, didn’t seem to have his usual fizz. He raced up with the pace, but jumped big and left and faded from the eighth fence. He probably needs a drop in class, but looks out of sorts at the moment.
NOTRE CYBORG, suited by the trip and conditions, was coming there with every when capsizing three out.

3.25 2m NH Flat

I take a close look at these bumper fields in the paddock but nothing really stood out. Southerness was probably best but his form tells us about him anyway.

MERIDIAN CITY built on a promising debut, leading 2 furlongs out and asserting in the final furlong. He won’t be a leading light in the stable, but has ability to take to a hurdling career.
NOW THIS IS IT had every chance from 3 furlongs out but was held in the run to the line. A good debut, and his Irish trainer took advantage of the fast ground and less competitive field than in his homeland.
SOUTHERNESS ran to the level of his previous efforts. He’s got the build of a jumper.
STORMIN EXIT had run a number of times in points before debuting in a bumper at Fairyhouse in March. He was last there but showed more here, setting a good pace to two out and not being left too far behind. He will improve with jumps in the way.
VINCENT PIPE has a decent looking pedigree but lost touch with the leaders in the straight. He may need a little time.
SHAMBOYANT looked very green in the paddock, taking in the surroundings. She didn’t show in the race, but was encouraged past one or two late on and does not look a total lost cause.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Sedgefield - November Course Specialists Day!

SEDGEFIELD – Tuesday 25th November

Going - Soft

A bright day in County Durham, but overnight rain softened the going a shade.

12.50 2m 4f Beginners’ Chase

An event in which very few were genuinely competitive in the latter stages.

CAST IRON CASEY confirmed the Kelso of his Kelso second, staying on down the straight to win with a little in hand. He jumps well and stayed this distance. He seemed suited to Kelso more than the up and downs of Kelso so there may be more to come.
TORKINKING led until the run to the last. He kept on for second and looks good enough to pick up a novices’ chase.
CHIEF DAN GEORGE kept on for third having been tapped for pace after the third last. His trainer suggested that he was sent to Sedgefield as a confidence booster, and it would seem a case of ‘job done’. The stable rate him over fences, and I understand he now heads for a staying novice event at Hexham in December.
LEASE LEND couldn’t raise his game in the straight. He’s finding one or two too good in these events and may have better chances in novice handicaps. Overall his record is sound having been out of the first 4 only twice in 15 races.
HERNANDO’S BOY was left behind after 3 out. He’s rated 128 over hurdles, and this first chase effort was inconclusive.
BEDLAM BOY was comfortably held and has a way to go to match his hurdles form. He had a couple of hurdles wins over stiff tracks and they might suit better than Sedgefield.
TREEHOUSE didn’t figure on his racecourse debut but got round in his own time. He’s related to winning pointers so given time may turn into a chaser.
LOGANS RUN has not sparkled on two chase efforts to date.
BILLY MURPHY and ISLAND KEY were prominent early but struggling with a mile to go.
PRE-TOKEN showed a glimmer on chase debut, but was dismal on this occasion, his jumping letting him down.

2.20 2m ½ f 0-105 Handicap Chase

The winner of this is well exposed, albeit a course specialist.

STORMY BEECH was revived by blinkers at Newcastle and his trainer worked the remainder of the trick by bringing him to his favourite track. He’s now 5 wins and 7 places from 12 attempts at Sedgefield. He led all the way and pulled out the stops down the straight. It was heartening to see an old campaigner still giving it the works and being rewarded.
WHATCANYASAY plugged on to challenge at the last, but hit it which effectively ended his chance. Although not the most consistent, he does have the tendency to throw in the odd lousy performance, he does have 3 wins to his credit at Sedgefield.
EBORARRY didn’t get his head in front this time. He never really got to the leader and was one paced from 2 out. He has won over fences in the past but, while he’s on a consistent(-ish) run it’s a long time since he got his head in front. He runs often which suggests an iron constitution.
CARRIETAU chased the leaders but made no impression from 3 out. He’s improving as a chaser, and has time on his side. He won three times over hurdles, so has winning credentials, and will probably pick up a chase somewhere along the line.
CEDAR RAPIDS regressed from his second here last time, the leaders having more left in the straight.
DIGITAL MEDIA was second in a selling hurdle at Hexham on previous run. After initial promise he seems to have lost his way over fences.
FIRST FOUGHT made no show and hasn’t got very close in recent chasing runs.
BRIGHT SPARKY made a succession of mistakes early on. His chasing debut was no more inspiring than recent hurdles runs.
FLAMING HECK won an uncompetitive event at Hexham in May where the second was way below ideal trip, and he struggled on first run since then.

3.20 3m 3f Conditional Jockeys’ 0-95 Handicap Chase

The low sun meant the third last fence was omitted on all circuits.

It really is worth looking out for course specialists at Sedgefield and this race was taken by another of them.

After her Carlisle third I hinted that SHULMIN would be interesting back here, and this time I’ll acknowledge that she is ‘she’ rather than ‘he’. (Concentrate that man!) She made it 4 out of 8 over fences here moving smoothly through the field on the final circuit, challenging in the straight and holding on despite wandering about on the run-in.
NELLIEDONETHAT improved on Newcastle form. He kept on but caught the wrong opponent here and should win a similar event soon.
MITCHEL HENRY was in a much more appropriate class than for his novice outings. He’ll make his mark at this level, particularly off a generous looking rating of 70.
BLUE RISING showed signs of a return to form. He was in contention from 4 out but couldn’t raise his game enough. He’s a maiden who seems to lack the pace or inclination to get into a scrap, but there’s still time to change things around.
HEROS COLLONGES went well to 4 out but was then couldn’t match the leaders. He was beaten about 8 lengths and this was by far his best effort of the last two years. He was off 92 here and unseated at the Chair off 137 in April 2006.
RIVAL BIDDER struggled from the thirteenth and would prefer better ground.
SAM CRUISE jumped better here, leading to 4 out. He weakened before 2 out and it maybe the extended trip got to the bottom of him.
NORTHERN VIC jumped stickily in the rear and lost touch from 3 out. He took a few runs to get warmed up last season.
PRESENTING ALF put up another lack lustre performance.
COUNT THE COST was struggling a mile out and pulled up. He acquired blinkers here in place of cheek pieces without serious revival.
MAE MOSS running from 17lbs above her official rating of 51, was struggling very early. Her jockey shoved along for a way before giving up the ghost at the fifteenth. She did win a poor novices’ handicap hurdle in May ‘07, but her chances of winning a race over fences are negligible.

Meanwhile, in the West Of Scotland ......

I'm steadily catching up with the backlog of notes. As well as doing this blog and posting on The Racing Forum, I append each horse's comments to the Racing Post database and it all takes a bit of time, so dependent on commitments some reports may be delayed a little.

If there are any out there reading this blog, I hope you may have picked up on previous notes. Reading back I notice I gave the Ayr 25/1 winner Mr Woods as a possible novice winner, but that was on his last run in October 2007! I'd like to say I picked up on that one, but that run was before I started marking up the Racing Post database and I missed it.

As my familiarity with the Scottish and Northern runners increases, particularly the steeplechasers which I have focussed on, I'm finding a few useful patterns that show themselves. Keep an eye on these, because it can be that 'off pattern' runs hide the ability of the horse for when things fall right. This can help get a decent price and gain a significant edge.

AYR – Monday 24th November

Going – Good To Soft (Good in places)

Ayr’s flat course suffered from a wet autumn, with meetings either abandoned or run in testing conditions. The jumps circuit has the two fold advantage of the recent drier weather and lack of summer watering; hence the ground was reported just on the soft side of good for this meeting.

The second last fence in the back straight was omitted.

1.10 2m 5 ½ f 0-95 Condition Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

A very moderate contest to start the afternoon, with many professional losers putting in an appearance.

SOLWAY SUNSET’s wins to runs ratio is a darned sight better than would normally be seen at this level. She’s now 4 from 15 and this isn’t the first time she’s come up trumps after a lay-off. She ran on nicely to win cosily, but I wouldn’t hurry to back her without a break.
COUNTRYWIDE SUN ran up to his form in second. He’s sunk like a stone in the ratings over the past 18 months and may now be in a position to pick up a similar event. However with one win from 27 goes over jumps he doesn’t make sparkling betting material.
UNCOMMITTED who dots back and forth between the UK and Ireland, was left behind over the last two. She’s not all that quick at the business end.
DESTINY HILL stayed on and is getting closer with each rise in distance.
HICKORY LANE went clear after the third. He capitulated once headed two out. He was beaten a long way in a seller previously which sums this event up.
NIFTY ROY was well beaten but is a spring horse on previous evidence, though he didn’t show much at that time this year.
NAMED AT DINNER bags the occasional place, but 1 win from 43 over jumps sums him up.
PRINCE AMONG MEN wins occasionally, but psychic powers are needed to predict it these days.

1.40 3m 1f Beginners’ Chase

QUWS LAW has suffered breathing problems in the past, so his from has an up and down look to it. The tongue tie has been applied for his last three outings and seems to have done the trick. A bowled along in front here, with enough left in the tank to keep going to the end. His jumping was sound and his hurdle form suggests he should be capable of more wins, so defiance of a penalty is likely at some point. He’s won in heavy and on fast ground so it seems most going comes alike to him and he’s seen out every inch of this trip twice.
GREAT APPROACH possibly lost his chance when giving the fourteenth a belt as he made a forward move. That being said he did get close enough to bustle up the winner though was held close home. There was enough evidence to suggest he can progress from here and pick up a chase.
TREASURED MEMORIES came a pearler at Kelso and probably needed this to give her some confidence. She never got the leaders but stayed on for third.
SILVER BREESE jumped round in the rear for fourth. This was a shade better than some feeble hurdles efforts.
THE REDE MOUSE went well to 5 out but weakened quickly and pulled up. I suspect he made have had a problem but nothing was reported.
ATHOLLBROSE had no chance here and lost touch with a mile to go, eventually pulling up. The very lowest class is his only hope.

2.10 2m 4f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle

I noted MR WOODS as a possible winner of a minor novice event, but that was back in October 2007. I’d like to say I landed myself a 25/1 winner here, but sadly my previous note escaped me before this race. The 401-day lay-off was no hindrance here as Mrs Graham’s charge saw off a dual bumper winner and a bumper/novice hurdle winner. On that basis the form stacks up well and this one might be worth keeping an eye on. On previous evidence he stays further.
LIE FORRIT tried hard enough in second and was just held in the run to the line. This was a nice start over hurdles, he wasn’t stopping at the end of this trip and a trip to the winners’ area looks only delayed.
MERRYDOWN was put in his place here and may need a greater test of stamina to return to his best.
CHIEF SCOUT struggled once turned for home and was a well beaten fourth.
LUGATO threatened three out but then folded. He’s had plenty of goes over hurdles.
TOO COOL TO FOOL was in the rear for much of the way and made a little progress through the field late on to hope a glimmer of hope of better.

2.45 2m 4f 0-130 Handicap Chase

FIRST LOOK has been thereabouts a few times recently. He has a sound record at Ayr, never having been out of the first four in 11 attempts on the flat and over jumps. He moved up steadily in the last mile to collar an in-form opponent from two out, running on well on the flat. If a rise in the weights takes him out of the 0-130 bracket it may make placement a bit tough.
TELL HENRY has progressed nicely over fences, and this was a good effort taking on more experienced opponents. He was well clear of the remainder and still looks competitive off a raised mark.
ROBIN DE SHERWOOD had a chance from 4 out but was one paced in the straight. He was lacking the tongue-tie that his previous trainer had applied with success. On what he’s done so far his handicap mark seems very stiff.
EVER PRESENT weakened from 4 out. He won off his current mark over 3m 1f at Kelso in December ’06, may then have had a problem on his next outing that season, and hasn’t made an impact over fences since. Looking back through his record, most of his best form has come in soft or heavy ground.
EURO AMERICAN’s trainer is struggling at the moment with only 2 winners this season to date. He had begun a challenge 4 out but stuttered at that fence and fell away after that. He may have been in need of the race, but his current profile is not encouraging.
KING MAK made a bad mistake at the ninth and wasn’t dangerous after that, eventually pulling up.
It’s sad to report that HUSH TIGER has breathed his last. Rayson Nixon’s gelding broke down either just before or on landing at the seventh and was put down.

3.10 2m 0-105 Handicap Hurdle

This seemed quite a competitive little event for the level and it wouldn’t surprise if one or two went on from here.

PROSECCO had put up a couple of fair performances in maiden company and stepped up on that here. He led two out and stayed on. He seems to be learning now and might shrug off a ratings rise.
RANDOM NATIVE has had a stop-start career, having only mustered 14 runs from 6 years on the track. He has had a couple of wins when fresh and ran well on his return here being held on the run-in. He may be interesting if given a little break after this, but he’s never managed more than three runs in a season, so Nicky Richards is treading on egg shells with this one.
SOUL ANGEL led 3 out but couldn’t muster any extra when headed after the next. He might be capable of picking up a minor handicap off his current mark.
The record of CASSIUS didn’t look too impressive but his fourth place finish suggests the Handicapper was pretty well on the mark. He was always thereabouts but lacked the pace to make an impact in the latter stages.
SPIRIT OF THE MIST was poised to challenge before 3 out but weakened in the latter stages. He’s weakened late on in his hurdle races and may need a fast surface to see out the distance over hurdles, his pedigree has miler and sprinter blood. He may just benefit from a trip to Musselburgh which generally has faster ground than the other tracks at this time of year, or alternatively a wait until the spring and drier ground.
PAY ON kept on at the finish and is better in a lower class.

3.45 2m N.H. Flat

There was a very slow early pace here with many of the runners pulling hard.

SOLWAY SAM ran a single race last season when third and stepped up on that, leading 3 furlongs out and keeping on determinedly. The family generally stays further and I’d expect progress when he steps up in trip over hurdles. The stable are generally quite shrewd in their placement.
PRINCE OF GDANSK made an improvement on his previous run and kept the winner working.
PREMIER SAGAS was going very 4 furlongs out but ran a bit green in the latter stages. He was picking up again close home and should be more clued up next time. I’d be surprised if Nicky Richards doesn’t find a race for him to win.
HIGH GALES was held in the rush to the line, but the way the race was run may not have suited and I get the impression a greater test of stamina would be helpful.
HILLVIEW BOY stayed on for fifth and while I wouldn’t necessarily be backing him next time out, I’d certainly keep an eye on his progress.
MICK FLAVIN moved up 6 furlongs out and came with a chance 3 out but couldn’t raise his game any further. This could be as good as he is in these events.
The remainder will need to show a bit more to make a mark on the racecourse.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

KELSO – Friday November 21st

Going – Soft

12. 15 2m 6 ½ f Class 3 Introductory Hurdle

A race that essentially concerned four, with the rest making up the numbers.

BOGSIDE THEATRE went off in front pulling hard as was her way on the flat. She went very well to two out but then the petrol ran out and she fell in a heap. If she settles better she will do well at these longer distances, but in the short term it might be worth a go at a shorter trip. Her hurdling wasn’t too bad.
OCKEY DE NEULLIAC had solid form in three bumper runs on varied going last autumn in the French provinces. He had to work hard to win this one, battling on the flat to hold off two pursuers. This was a sound enough start and he should go on from here.
PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE has some fair form in France on his record including a chase win. He was the one to pursue the leader for much of the way, led briefly after the last but was just held on the long run-in. He’s a half-brother to Miko De Beauchene which presumably means we will see him chasing before long.
SPHINX was making a very belated hurdles debut and was probably finishing fastest of the front three. He’s rated in the 80s on the flat so has ability and his presence close up shouldn’t be a detracting factor here. He will presumably be aimed at a novice hurdle and should be good enough to pick up a run-of-the-mill event at this sort of trip.
LOCKSTOWN got outpaced in the latter stages. He’s shown enough in three outings to suggest he can progress with time.
PUTNEY BRIDGE showed promise in bumpers last year but was struggling after halfway here.

12.45 2m ½ f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle

Some interesting prospects here and one or two might progress.

SIGNALMAN built on a promising Newcastle debut, working hard to see off the second in the latter stages. He should be capable of defying a penalty in similar company.
SIRKEEL made a promising UK debut, belying odds of 66/1. He’d shown a glimmer of promise in France back in 2007 and having been up there all the way here kept on once passed. He may well win a novice hurdle, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the stable send him chasing sooner rather than later.
DARK GENTLEMEN was held by the first two but put in a solid hurdles debut. He will stay further.
ALWAYS BEST never figured seriously in the race but stayed on in the latter stages.
BRACKEN LAD showed some promise in a couple of bumper outings. He was prominent early, dropped back then stayed on in the closing stages.
BLACKS BRIDGE raced prominently then weakened from 2 out.
SOLIS had run a fair enough race but looked held in third when taking a heavy fall at the last.

1.15 2m 6 ½ f 0-125 Novices’ Handicap Chase

BASODA set a sound pace in this event. He was still in the lead when blundering and unseating at the fourteenth. There was a degree of promise on this chasing debut and he’s one to consider in similar company.
DOC ROW has had a few attempts against more experienced opponents and the drop to novice company was welcome. He disputed for much of the way and got the better of the argument in the final stride against a determined runner-up. He stays well and a step up in trip in similar company would likely be rewarded on this form.
ZITENKA looked the winner up the run-in but was just headed close home. The glimmer of promise on his previous two starts hinted at a better effort and it arrived here. Presuming he can re-capture this form then he should make the winner’s spot soon. It maybe significant that he had two wins on slightly better ground in Ireland.
MR PREACHER MAN was a close up third. Lucinda Russell should place him to pick up a chase before long. I suspect a slightly longer trip would favour him.
JUSTTHEONEFORYOU was left in front at the fourteenth but couldn’t find any more once passed in the straight. He went up 6lbs for a second at Carlisle which doesn’t help at the moment.
WATCH MY BACK made a sound enough chasing debut back in fifth. He’ll know a bit more next time. His dam was good on fast ground and I suspect slightly better ground may help.
MR BARNACLE jumped poorly and ultimately did quite well to get round only 12 lengths in arrears. He needs to sharpen his act over the fences, but if he does he could win in this company.
STAGECOACH DIAMOND never figured and his handicap chase efforts to date suggest a drop in the ratings is required.
JASS fell independently of Basoda at the fourteenth, but I got the impression he was distracted by the fall of the latter. Assuming that was the case he seems on a reasonable mark given that he was going well enough at the time.
ROOBIHOO lost touch down the back for the final time. He was well behind on his first two efforts last season and probably needed the race.

1.50 2m 1f Class 4 Beginners’ Chase

The pace was very steady early on and they didn’t start racing seriously until the last mile.

PALOMAR won over hurdles here last year and I noticed he wore ear-plugs that day. I didn’t notice whether they were fitted here though I presume they were one of the keys to his improvement last season. This was an impressive chasing debut; he was held up and made up ground swiftly from two out. He came away well after the last and should progress in novice company.
NAIAD DE MISSELOT met one too good here but did nothing wrong in defeat. His profile suggests one aimed at a chasing career and he should improve with a step up in distance.
QUICUYO raced prominently but was tapped for speed from the last. He was a three time winner over hurdles and he’ll find easier chasing contests than this.
THE SHY MAN was hampered three out and lost any chance. Not surprisingly from previous observations, he stayed on in the latter stages and is crying out for a longer trip over fences.
WATCH THE WIND ran respectably given that he’s only rated 79. There’s a glimmer of promise in his jumping to suggest that he has a chance in a low level handicap.
LORD SAMPOSIN ran well for a long way, as often in the past, but was tired when falling at the last.
BOB’S DREAM had every chance two out but fell away after the last. This was a fair enough debut given the company, and a novice handicap may be his best bet.
MORE SHENNANIGANS matched the slow pace here but was feeling the pinch when coming down 3 out. He struggles even in poor handicaps.

2.25 2m 2f Class 3 Handicap Hurdle

A big field here and this was a pretty decent handicap.

ISSAQUAH, turned out looking well on seasonal debut, scooted away from these on the flat and might just be ahead of the handicapper. She looked impressive in both bumpers and her sole novice hurdle. She can step up a grade.
TARTAN SNOW put in an honest performance staying on in second. He goes well round here and may well record another win given soft ground.
SINATAS kept on from the rear for third, but may be held by the handicapper.
CULCABOCK is well exposed with 52 runs over jumps on his CV and what you see is not easy to place to advantage at the moment. He runs an honest enough race though, and should reward his connections with regular place money.
OPEN DE L’ISLE ran creditably on return to hurdling. He went very close on his second outing last season and might be worth an interest next time out.
FRONT RANK is handicapped to his ability and ran a fair race. He hasn’t won over hurdles for two years.
GREENBELT went well up front to three then gave way.

3.00 3m 1f 0-115 Handicap Chase

The event I looked forward to on the card, with a host of familiar faces to the Scottish staying chase circuit.

KING BARRY has done a fair bit of travelling in recent times, but it’s noticeable that his last four wins have all been in Scotland. If you take out his journeys to the Midlands and South his record is 4123124121P841, the P being in the competitive Perth Gold Cup last year and the 8 was the only time he was visored. Much to encourage in those figures and I feel he can cope with a rise in the ratings given the amount he had in hand here. It’s probably worth putting a line through him if venturing south.
HIDDEN BOUNTY belied his years staying on to finish second. He might still just squeak a win upped in trip.
RYMINSTER is best fresh, but runs a lot of decent races and performed creditably here staying on in third. Keep an eye out for him after he has had a rest.
ROYAL MACKINTOSH never got to the leaders but was staying on late. He has done well with an uphill finish and a visit to Carlisle, or possibly Hexham, might well see him victorious at this level.
CATCH THE PERK ran a fair race in fifth but weakened in the latter stages. If he can be kept sweet then it wouldn’t surprise me if he added to collection of Perth wins next spring.
GETINBYBUTONLYJUST ran prominently for a long way but faded in the straight.
SEA CADET was well backed but struggled from 3 out.
Previously improving TEENANDO exited at the second.
BENBEOCH raced prominently early but had cried enough after two miles, finally pulling up.
ANGLICAN was never going at any point and pulled up.
KORELO always behind, was pulled up and dismounted on the flat.
MATMATA DE TENDRON went with the leaders to the twelfth but then faded and pulled up. Previous suggests only a real slog slows down the opposition enough to give him a chance. He’s been placed 5 times out of 7 (2 wins) in heavy and his minimum winning distance has been 3m 3f. Combine the two and we probably have a stat to go to market with!

3.35 2m 6 ½ f 0-115 Handicap Hurdle

A very popular winner for Borders trainer Rayson Nixon in POLITICAL PADDY. The win was well deserved as ‘Paddy’ has run some fine races in defeat over the last year or so. He came clear from the last here to win nicely. He is well suited by a stamina test which he’s likely to get here in the winter months.
RARE COINCIDENCE raced prominently, was pushed on coming into the straight, but couldn’t muster any extra speed once passed. Only a 7 year old, he’s had 110 runs (15 wins) in all races, retains his zest for the game and is presumably tough as old boots. He hasn’t won over hurdles for a while, but this run suggests a small handicap hurdle may fall his way.
WEE BERTIE put up his best effort for a while and a slight drop in class would be helpful.
LAGO had every chance 3 out, but was left behind in the straight. This was his first race since April and will presumably be beneficial.
HAPTHOR raced keenly early, but lost his keenness going away from the stands for the final time. He didn’t look too willing after that and his 1 from 25 win record doesn’t inspire.
WATERSKI couldn’t get his head in front here and is struggling at the moment.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Catching up with Northern chasers in mid November.....

Time constraints mean I have to concentrate on the more significant performers. Some of the under-achievers have been well covered before anyway.

CARLISLE – Monday November 10th
Gong- Heavy (Soft in places)
For the first time this season all the fences on the course were jumped, though the hurdles course was still out of action. Once again the conditions were very testing.

1.20 2m Beginners’ Chase

BYWELL BEAU set the pace as ever, but even on a right-handed track he is jumping was erratic. He was a spent force by 3 out and at the moment the only course open seems to be a return to hurdling.
Four were in with a chance at the last and it was ROLE ON who got the best of the opposition just holding on from Stumped. Despite a couple of errors this was a pleasing debut. Expect to see him upped in trip soon as he had form over longer trips when hurdling.
STUMPED just failed with a spirited late burst on chasing debut and looks a ready made winner.
CAMDEN GEORGE was another Smith runner performing well after a long lay-off. The stable have prepared their runners very well on seasonal debut, although this may mean there is less improvement to come. Nevertheless he shouldn’t have too much trouble picking up a chase victory.
MISTER WATZINAME weakened from the last to finish fourth of his UK and chasing debut. A £70000 purchase, this was a sound start for the stable and his hurdles form suggests he should step up on this over fences.
PAMAK D’AIRY was in touch until a blunder 4 out took the stuffing out of him. He has chasing form from France and may be the type to aim at handicaps.

1.55 2m 5f Graduation Chase

FAASEL has a fair career record for one who is rather quirky. He looked held at the last, but summoned up a spurt on the flat to get ahead only to pull himself up in front. He was close enough to the line to get away with it. He still has plenty of ability, but his tendency to decide when he’s done enough doesn’t make him a sound betting proposition.
TOT O’WHISKEY backed up a solid previous effort here with another decent run. He looked the winner until 100 yards out and won’t always catch one like Faasel. He won here over three miles last time so a step back up in trip would do no harm.
RIMSKY put in another creditable performance against higher rated performers. He led but could offer no extra once passed two out. Much depends on how he’s treated by the handicapper for this form as that seems he most likely sphere. (Subsequently moved up from 123 to 127, so still gets into 0-130 events)
LE TOSCAN put in a sound effort in fourth. He was well out of the handicap at Aintree on previous run and placement in his handicapping level seems the most obvious course.

2.25 2m 5f Novices’ Chase
SKIPPERS BRIG was well presented by Len Lungo after almost two years off the track. He won this very nicely staying on from 3 out to see off a determined runner up. His record before his break was very impressive, and the evidence is that none of his ability has left him. He’ll benefit from a step up in trip and strikes me as a type to acquit himself well in better company.
ANDREW NICK, leading from halfway, pushed on at the bottom of the hill and stuck to his task up the final climb. He lost nothing in being beaten by a decent opponent and will more than likely pick up a similar event soon.
IWILLREMEMBERYOU made a satisfactory chasing debut. He stayed on for third, if never threatening the first two and should go on from this chasing debut. His hurdling form suggests he’s versatile regarding the type of track so that should give a few placement options.
MARLEYBOW struggled from 3 out. This was his first attempt in testing ground and he may well be seen to better effect on a less testing surface.
YOUNG ALBERT struggled here and was well beaten. While I doubt the ground would be an excuse, it might be worth bearing in mind that his best hurdling form came on left-handed tracks. If his handicap mark comes out around the same as his hurdle mark, perhaps a bit less, then he would be well worth an interest on a left-handed track in a novices’ handicap.

2.55 2m 5f 0-125 Handicap Chase

MALKO DE BEAUMONT has had a decent start to the season. He ran a moderate race at Kelso but seems to enjoy himself at Carlisle. This is probably around about his best distance, and on this occasion he stayed on best of a host with chances over the last two.
AKILAK ran a sound race in second without ever quite getting into a position to challenge for first.
FIRST LOOK has been kept on the go recently on the flat and over fences. This was a sound enough performance but he looks handicapped to his ability.
POLAR GUNNER recorded five wins in a row back in 2005/2006. He then had period off the track. Off higher marks he seemed to be struggling, but running off 110 here seems to suggest he’s back at a level he can handle. Even at the age of 11 he would be interesting if dropped in class at a less testing track.
YOUNG LORCAN ran creditably from just out of the handicap. His record over fences is very sound, 5 wins and 7 places from 22 attempts, and he’s one who should be thereabouts in slightly lesser company.
OSO MAGIC ran well up front but gave way from the last. He’s now on a fair mark.
CRACKADEE disputed early but fell away to finish last. He pulled up first time out last season so the chances are he’ll come on for the run.

3.30 3m 2f 0-105 Handicap Chase

I suggested after NICOZETTO’s first outing that a move up in trip might help. It proved a sound judgement although it helped that these were a pretty moderate bunch. He’ll go up a fair bit for a clear win here and I’m not sure he’ll repeat the win on a raised rating.
HOLLOWS MIST plodded into second from 6lbs out of the handicap which was about as good as could be expected. He is suited by much better going than this.
Favourite PEUT ETRE SIVOLA raced close to the pace but the testing conditions told up the straight.
BLUE RISING never threatened but, bearing in mind he was coming off a year layoff, there may be better to come.
WATERFORD has yet to get very close under and led to 3 out before weakening quickly and pulling up.

4.00 2m 0-95 Handicap Chase

An event full of disappointing or out of form runners. The only one with any solid recent form; SAMMY SPIDERMAN, threw a wobbly when in contention 4 out, veering into the wing and decanting his jockey before climbing over the fence.
COOLDINE LAD’s win is testament once again to the brilliance of Tony McCoy. Dropped back in trip after pulling up over Hexham three miles, he was always handy but looked held and not particularly keen to go past the leader on the run-in. McCoy’s persistence paid off as Cooldine Lad finally got the message and took off past Hollows Mill close home. McCoy wins races that other jockeys wouldn’t dream of, and we should appreciate that we have privileged to be watching the best jump jockey ever. His mount is an awkward customer and though he has ability I do wonder if he will show us as much as he is capable of.
HOLLOWS MILL led on sufferance in the latter stages but couldn’t muster another effort when challenged. He’s dropped a long way in the handicap which offers hope that a small event may fall his way.
NATIVE COLL performed at the moderate level of his previous efforts this season.
MORE SHENNANAGINS ran a fair race from 5lbs out of the handicap, but a mark of 62 doesn’t give many options and he’s basically slow.
WOODVIEW has some bits of decent form in his record, but he also runs a lot of poor races and was well beaten here.
The other runner EXIT TO SAUMUR looks of no account on evidence to date.

Sedgefield – November 11th

Going – Good (Good to Soft in the back straight)

Decent going at Sedgefield in contrast to the day before at Carlisle. The fence at the top of the hill was bypassed.

1.50 2m 4f Maiden Chase

Probably a moderate contest.

BANOGE was put into the race in the latter stages, making progress from two out and staying on to snatch the race close home. He has shown consistency in his racing to date and, though likely to be held in non-handicap novice events, should make a mark in handicap company.
RAGADOR was yet another Smith performer running well after a break. Having pushed on turning for home he wandered a bit on the flat and was caught. Nevertheless this was a good effort with the rest of the field seen off and he looks another suited to novice handicaps.
KILKENNY ALL STAR was 17 lengths back and one paced in third. He never seriously got into the race and the chances are he’ll progress from this. A longer trip may help.
EASBY MANDARIN ran respectably after a lay-off since February last year.
COLDWELLS ran well for a long way but weakened in the straight. She’s now 0 from 19 which isn’t encouraging. I would presume she will be aimed at novice handicaps.
Not an awful lot of encouragement for anything else. GENTLE RANGER ran prominently for a long way but the tank registered empty by 3 out.

2.50 2m ½ f 0-110 Handicap Chase

It’s difficult to tell what this form is worth, since the second has been disappointing over hurdles recently and the third has been a bit below par for a while.

BLAST THE PAST saw off the second after a brief duel. This was a decent enough run in the company, but she’ll rise in the handicap which will make things difficult.
CEDAR RAPIDS has struggled in some moderate hurdles of late. He raced well up front here but was well out-pointed by the winner. He has won off a mark 6lbs higher than his current one so isn’t a lost cause in appropriately lowly company.
SCHINKEN OTTO kept on into third but this seems as good as he is right now.
JUSTWHATEVERULIKE went third 3 out but couldn’t get to the front two. He looks held off his current mark.
PEN GWEN made no serious show. He was raised 6lbs for his second at Exeter which seems harsh and he’s another who looks in the grip of the handicapper. There’s a chance he may be best over a stiff track.
RUSSIAN FLAG made some progress before falling 4 out. He has some bits and pieces of form and has time on his side.

Newcastle – Friday November 14th

Going – Good to Soft

1.00 2m 4f Beginners’ Chase

A few interesting prospects here.

I backed KEALSHORE BOY on his winning bumper debut at Kelso and have kept an eye on his progress since. He struck me as a chasing sort and has moved nicely through novice hurdles to this promising chasing debut. He led on the flat and stayed on to hold the second.
SILVER BY NATURE has been a bit up and down and, though I have always felt he’s a nice jumping sort, I never quite got a handle on his hurdles form, missing him when winning and supporting when losing. His breeding suggests he’ll make a chaser and this was a very sound debut. I would imagine a step up in trip will help him.
LEASE LEND went well enough to two out before finding the first two too sharp.
RAYSROCK made a mistake 5 from home which cost him ground and struggled after that. His Carlisle run suggests he’s a little better than this form.
STORYMAKER made a creditable chasing debut, keeping on in the straight but unable to make a mark on the leaders. He stays farther than this and a step up in trip may help him.

2.00 3m 0-110 Handicap Chase

ROZNIC progressed to lead two out and stayed on well. He seems to thrive on regular racing and has been in good form of late having also won over hurdles at Southwell.
JETHRO TULL was not over pushed on his first couple of outings back from a lay-off, understandably if there was a doubt about his fitness. However he’s been competitive in his last two outings and is now knocking at the door. Given that he’s running into form he seems on a decent mark and is worth noting.
STRAVAIGIN was more suited by the conditions here and she jumped a good deal better. As has been the case before she got left flatfooted four out, but she stayed on for third. It might be interesting if she were upped in trip again, particularly on good or fast ground which she needs.
HALL OF FLAME probably found a 7lb rise in the weights plus a rise in class against him. The trip is no problem since he’s won over longer but he probably needs to meet slightly lesser opposition.
The one that caught my eye here was the fifth STONERIGGS MERC. A tough test at Carlisle was against him on his last two outings and, while Newcastle wouldn’t be his ideal track, he ran a good deal better here. A sharper track and decent ground is probably the key to this one. I’d be interested if a suitable 3 mile chase came up at Musselburgh on decent ground.

3.10 2m 0-115 Handicap Chase

Not the most competitive handicap, but still a very decent chasing debut from WOT WAY CHIEF. He went comfortably clear from two out. All his recent racing over hurdles had been done over longer trips so presumably the step up in distance should counter any rise in the ratings. A very interesting handicap chaser.
STORMY BEECH ran a much better race than of late, possibly aided by the re-application of blinkers. Then again over the years he has worn blinkers, visor, ‘sideburns’ and tongue tie. At his age he’s about as exposed as you can get.
MOOR SPIRIT performed better than of late, closing on the second close home. He won a couple of times earlier in the year at longer trips. He’s basically a summer sort who seldom runs on ground softer than this.
MORE LIKE IT apparently performed a bit better on his UK debut than on recent Irish runs. Given that he hadn’t run since March there’s a degree of promise here.
DE BOITRON is only a four-year-old but has already won over hurdles and fences in France. He may need time to adjust to British racing.
JUSTWHATEVERULIKE came out again quickly after his Sedgefield run, but cut no more ice here than in County Durham. As previously stated, he looks held off his current mark.
CASH MAN, who was well behind, was reported as having lost his confidence. Not a good sign.
ORANG OUTAN was held when unseating at the last.

Kelso is next up on Friday, but I'm away visiting family down south so will catch up via Attheraces. There's a steady stream of jumping in the coming week or two, and I shall be at Musselburgh on Friday 28th November for their first jump meeting of the season.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Eight race card in the Borders

KELSO – Saturday November 8th

Going – Soft

An early start at the Borders venue since a seven race card was added to by one when the opening novices’ hurdle was divided. Some mumblings in the Racing Post about the early start denying betting shop employees their lunch-break, but this is Scotland and the amount of light means it’s difficult to race much past four even in early November. If trainers want to race their horses here there are worse problems than an early start. Bear in mind also that the layout of the track and the position of the starts means there’s little scope for cutting gaps between races.

I have been trying to summarise the performances of all chasers in Scotland and the far North of England, but time constraints mean I’m struggling a bit so some of the established under-achievers may be ignored.

12.00 2m 6 ½ f Novices’ Hurdle

The race was run at a steady pace, but this still proved too quick for a number of less able performers. The first three put in very promising performances.

MERRYDOWN has progressed nicely through bumpers to novice hurdlers and, as previously suggested, was suited by this longer trip. He won this with a bit more in hand than the winning margin suggested. He’s one of the better staying novices since out this season and should progress to a win in stronger company. He’s already looking likely to have a future chasing.
TRICKY TRICKSTER, a point-to-point winner is progressing nicely, and should win a staying novice hurdle before going chasing. He wasn’t stopping here and a greater test of stamina will suit him even more.
KNOCKARA BEAU is another to have progressed from bumpers. He raced keenly on the outside, got tapped for toe three out but then stayed on again on the flat. Another who will benefit from a greater stamina test, and will eventually make up into a chaser.
POLITICAL PADDY ran a decent race in fourth, not able to hold the front three on the run-in. He has run some decent races in defeat and, though this is the limit of his ability, must surely pick up a run of the mill staying event this season.
PUTITAWAYFORAYEAR made steady progress at halfway but found the main contenders going away from him over the last three flights. He’s qualified for handicaps and seems to have enough ability to make a mark at a lowly level.
CEILIDH LASS made some progress past halfway but wasn’t good enough at the sharp end. There was just a glimmer of promise.
BALLYBART showed promise in a Hexham bumper last time. He raced prominently but dropped away quickly three out and was pulled up. He impressed me in the paddock at Hexham and given time will make a staying chaser.
The remainder weren’t competitive.

12.30 2m 6 ½ f Novices’ Hurdle

This didn’t seem nearly as strong a contest as the first.

GRAND THEATRE followed the very steady pace early, pressed the leader two out and, despite a clumsy jump at the last, asserted on the flat. This was a nice hurdling debut. Since Nicky Richards also trained the first winner he should have a handle on the placing of the two horses.
TEENAGE IDOL was a bit clumsy at his early hurdles, not helped by pulling hard. Once settled he took the lead before the seventh but couldn’t respond when headed. If he learns to settle he can step up on this.
COMHLA RI COIG was held up early, made progress from three out and plugged on. This was a fair effort off a long absence and a staying event should be within his compass.
PAKINEO DES PICTONS ran well to two out but then fell away quickly. He may not have stayed, but on the other hand he raced similarly over two miles last time. Possibly needs a little time.
The remainder were beaten a long way.

1.0 2m 1f 0-115 Novices’ Handicap Chase

RUN TO SPACE made it three out of three for the Richards stable with a determined effort here. He wore down the second close home. He probably needs a step up in trip to progress further.
CROMWELL COURT raced prominently and having taken the lead two out was headed after the elbow. Should be competitive at this level though if he rises up the weights a bit it won’t help, and the chances are the handicapper will have an eye back to the previous winner 19 lengths back in third.
I’M YOUR MAN has put in some decent efforts, but now he’s finding others progressing past him. He had every chance but wasn’t good enough in the straight.
CARRIETAU showed a glimmer of promise behind striking article last time, but had no answer from two out.
GLACIAL RAMBLER hasn’t gone close in recent attempts over fences.
GO SILVER BULLET led early jumping neatly if a tad to the right, but his jumping went to pieces from 4 out and he just scrambled over the last three
GALANT NUIT was well cooked when falling heavily at the last. He looks too high in the handicap.
LUSENTO was making progress when falling 4 out There was enough to suggest he might be worth keeping an eye on.

1.35 2m ½ f Selling Novices’ Hurdle

A dreadful event from which I’d be loathe to put money on any of the contestants in future.

JORDAN’S LIGHT won this by virtue of having more basic speed, or perhaps being less slow than the remainder. He made mistakes but was never troubled by anything else. Bought in for 5,000gns but he beat next to nothing.
SORRENTO MOON chased the leader but was put in his place on the flat. Might win a seller but it would be a desperate event and her price would likely be short.
HICKORY LANE was left for dead from 3 out.
JUST POSH made a bad mistake at the second then pootled round and passed tiring opponents for fourth. (A subsequent second at Sedgefield says precious little for the competitors at the Durham track)
The rest look woefully slow, and in the extreme CATHERINES CAFÉ made a total pig’s ear of the first two before digging her heels in at the third. She doesn’t look over-enamoured at being sent hurdling.

The connections of a few here might take a pinch of encouragement form the fact that Miss Tarantella, maligned in this blog previously, managed to conjure up a win at 100/1. I think the phrase is ‘every dog has its day’! Should this animal come scooting up the hill at Cheltenham in March I shall quite happily dine on the contents of a hat factory.

2.10 2m 6 ½ f 0-120 Handicap Chase

HELLO BUD rattled through the handicap from 85 to 111 last season including an easy win in ‘the Hexham four-miler’ in March. His run came to a halt with a disappointing effort in the Highland National in April, but he picked up the thread in impressive style over a trip which would be on the sharp side. He’s not got many miles on the clock for a 10 year old and there’s every chance he can step up in class, particularly over a longer trip.
MORE LIKELY goes well here but was comfortably outpointed from the second last. She wasn’t hammered for her win last time and if she doesn’t come up against another improver might be capable of another win, particularly round here.
GETINBYBUTONLYJUST generally runs a fair race but doesn’t seem to have anything in hand to break out of the handicapper’s straitjacket.
DOC ROW has improved marginally over recent runs but lacks any bite in the finish. He may be worth trying over marathon trips to see if he can outstay the others.
CANADA STREET needs further and his jumping is letting him down. If he can get his act together he has time to progress.
DARINA’S BOY was prominent until running out of puff around two out.
CORLANDE was struggling a mile out and ended up tailed off. Chances are he needed the race, but I would still have expected a bit more here.
DAWN RIDE made mistakes and was pulled up after nearly falling at the ninth. He clearly has ability, but is a risky conveyance.
ANGLICAN fell early on.

2.40 2m 6 ½ f 0-125 Handicap Hurdle

TWELVE PACES has dotted between hurdles and chases as much as his form has gone up and down. He led at halfway and went clear in the latter stages. Although he seldom runs two races alike, but it may be worth bearing in mind that his Carlisle/Hexham record reads 1123, and the finish here is not exactly easy. Might just be one to pop in at a fancy price again somewhere along the line.
ECHO POINT ran an honest enough race in second whilst being clearly out pointed by Twelve Paces. A good comeback, the stable is buzzing at the moment and his return to the winners spot is only delayed.
MIRJAN kept on from the rear for third but was beaten 35 lengths. He runs an honest enough race but at his age is held by the handicapper.
FAIR QUESTION had every chance and wasn’t good enough on the day, fading from 3 out. It’s some time since he got close at the finish.
SINGHALONGTASVEER ran a decent enough race after a break, being tapped for pace in the straight. A drop back in trip probably wouldn’t do any harm.
TARTAN SNOW went well for a long way before weakening and may well have needed the race.
MAJOR MALARKEY finished last and was reported as not handling the ground, but he’s been placed on soft before and just looks unpredictable.

3.15 3m 1f 0-110 Novice Handicap Chase

ROSIE ALL OVER has progressed nicely, and stayed on better than the remainder here. At Hexham she struck me as a chasing sort, if needing the race on that occasion, and now she’s got her jumping act together may well progress in staying handicaps. She certainly lacks nothing in the way of a positive attitude.
SEIZE came from the rear to challenge three out. He was out-pointed on the flat, but this was a sound effort on returning to fences. He was well clear of the rest and should be placed to advantage.
GARLETON ran a sound race in third and generally gives his best.
WISE CHOICE was badly hampered by a faller at the twelfth and hadn’t got into the race at that stage. He plodded into fourth place and has been well beaten on both attempts over fences.
JEMEZ raced with zest, prominent or leading for much of the way until making a bad mistake 2 out. He was then allowed to come home in his own time. He’s moved to chasing quite early and there is promise of better to come provided he settles slightly better.
FREDDIE THE THIRD has looked a dodgy jumper and was foiled by the open ditch going away from the stands second time.
SUPREME’S LEGACY hadn’t been asked a question when making a total hash of the fence in front of the stands.
TREASURED MEMORIES took a heavy fall at the previous fence. He had been going well when falling on chasing debut but two falls is not a good start.
AUGUST ROSE really struggled here, jumped stickily and soon lost touch, pulling up going on to the final circuit.

3.50 2m 2f 0-110 C.J. Handicap Hurdle

Three finished close here, which suggests they are handicapped to their level.

OLEOLAT took some time to get his act together over hurdles, but is a fair performer at this level. If he goes up much in the weights he may struggle, though chasing may be an option judging on breeding.
FRONT RANK led or disputed to two out. He kept on well but couldn’t get to the winner again. His record of 4/41 over hurdles suggests one who ‘wins in his turn’.
SOUL ANGEL stayed on after the last having been under pressure two out. Best recent form has been in testing conditions and soft or heavy going would be the best chance of a win.
TIGER KING was always thereabouts but didn’t threaten from two out. His highest winning mark is 94 and he’s on 105 at the moment which is not encouraging.
FIND ME passed tiring opponents to finish a remote fifth.
Donald McCain will probably turn GENERAL POTTER into a chaser with time. He was outpaced from 3 out here and breeding suggests a longer distance would help.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Hexham Chases - November 7th

The action starts to crank up now and there is plenty of racing in the 'area of interest' in the next few weeks. Unfortunately other commitments mean I can't make it to the racecourse until late november, but I'll keep an eye on the steeplechasers at the 'chosen courses' and all races at Scottish meetings. I'm gradually building up a nice little book of comments on the regular protagonists.

Generally moderate contenders, but there are a few bits of form which may be useful under similar conditions, though always bear in mind that one or two may need a bit of a break after a slog round the Northumbrian countryside.

A lot of rain in the area recently had turned the going Heavy, and Hexham is a hard slog in these conditions and there were many very tired horses at the finish. The fence at the top of the hill and the first in the back straight were both omitted due to the state of the ground.

1.20 2m 4 ½ f 0-105 C.J. Handicap Chase

Sue Smith has produced one or two recently which have done well coming off a break. SUNNY BROOK had been absent for the best part of two years but was presented in good nick for this event. In truth it was a moderate contest but the winner did the job well enough. Racing prominently, Sunny Brook was kicked on to go clear down the hill and, despite being headed going up hill, battled back and went away in the last 100 yards. She had jumped left on chasing debut, but would appear well schooled since. She will probably be capable of going on from here but, bearing in mind the conditions here, she may need a rest before re-appearing.
RECKLESS VENTURE has won twice here and this was best effort this season, though probably the weakest event he’s contested this autumn. He led apparently going well up the hill but offered nothing on the flat.
MANOUBI stayed on in the latter stages having sat out the back early.
PANTHERS RUN plodded round for a remote fourth.
RING OF BEARA was settled in the lead, but having been headed 5 out he weakened from 3 out and was well beaten. He was a reasonable performer at this level in Ireland but hasn’t yet recaptured that form in the UK.
NEIDPATH CASTLE was on the stretch 3 out when the pace quickened, but made progress up the hill. He looked a likely third when getting too low at the last and unseating. He’s on a mark of 73 and would be interesting eased into the lowest class at this trip.
HERBIE unseated at the first on chasing debut.

2.20 3m 1f Class 3 Novices’ Chase

ACCORDING TO PETE repeated the promising form of his previous outing here. He wasn’t stopping by any means at the finish, jumps soundly, and might be interesting if aimed at long-distance handicap chases.
JASS ran a creditable race in second, if outpointed by a better opponent. He certainly seemed aided by the longer trip and if he’s aimed at handicaps he won't run into anything like today’s winner.
RODRIGO GONZALES is three times a winner over hurdles and hadn’t encountered conditions as stamina sapping as this before. He went well enough for a long way but was struggling by 3 out and allowed to come home in his own time for third. He will be an interesting proposition on decent ground.
THE REDE MOUSE had no hope of being competitive in this company but was allowed to complete in his own time. I suspect he may offer a bit better given time.
EMMENSO was detached early and lobbed round in his own time. He’s a hurdles winner and has time on his side for chasing.
BENDEOCH was quickly well behind on seasonal debut and pulled up.

3.20 2m ½ f 0-95 Handicap Chase

This wasn’t a great event despite a few having recent placed form. DUKE OF MALFI seemed to benefit from his chasing debut at Kelso. He made all and showed too much determination for his challengers in the latter stages. He may well stand a rise in the weights and perhaps even a step up in trip.
NORMINSTER ran creditably despite a significant rise in the weights for his win here. He tried hard enough but was held by the winner. It took him a long time to win but his attitude seems right at the moment, and another win is not out of the question. It’s significant that out of 9 placed efforts, 8 of them have been at Hexham or Carlisle.
FRITH has always just hinted at a bit of ability, and this was by far the closest he’s got over jumps. He hadn’t been totally disgraced behind a useful winner on his last outing. He ran out of puff in the straight, but this run suggests a handicap chase is within his compass given this experience.
CYBORA closed up the hill but couldn’t offer any more. She clearly has at least a little ability, but a record of 1 win in 30 goes doesn’t inspire, and with the exception of a Cartmel race on good to firm she has finished weakly.
TOULOUSE EXPRESS plugged on into fifth. He sometimes gets close but doesn’t look betting material over fences.
ROYAL GLEN faded in the latter stages having been in with a chance 3 out. A couple of slogs round Carlisle, followed by an outing in heavy here, may well have taken their toll.
LERIDA reverted to type with a poor effort. May win again sometime but is one to oppose.
SILVO pulled up and was reported as having lost his action.
SUBSIDISE, CULCINELLO and KING’S ENVOY are all well out of form and pulled up.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

More chasing only at Carlisle ......

CARLISLE – Sunday November 2nd

Going- Soft

Another chase only card at Carlisle. I had thought following the chasers might be fairly comfortable with two or three races per card, but Carlisle are making my hobby a little tougher at the moment. This was the third such card in a row and numbers were down a bit.

I'm just keeping up with the chasers at the moment, and having to rely on televised stuff, but hope to go racing again later in the month. Can't make Kelso this weekend but I've got a couple of Musselburgh jump meetings lined up before Christmas, then Aileen will dragged off to the same venue for our annual Christmas-week outing!

In typically perverse fashion, my blog gets re-invigorated when the 'Northern Marathon Mob' emerge as they did at the end of this Carlisle card. Familiar old characters who do their stuff month after month, year after year.

Still a tough test with the going showing up soft despite a drier week. The second fence down the hill remained out of action.

1.35 3m ½ f Beginners’ Chase

A small field but the chances are these are four with a chance of a win or two over the season.
COMPANERO won three Irish point-to-points a couple of years ago, and ran well in testing conditions over hurdles, so three miles round here held no terrors. I presume he’ll be kept to decent class novice events from now on.
NINE DE SIVOLA has run some cracking races in staying handicaps, yet remains a chasing maiden. He’s been out of action since finishing second to Hot Weld in the 2007 Scottish National. He’s likely to go for the marathon events to which his stamina is suited.
WILL BE DONE isn’t as good as the first two, but ran respectably and won’t always run into opposition as useful as the first two.
GOLDEN CHILD dropped out of contention after blundering 3 out. He’s looked better to me on a flat track.

2.10 2m 4f (Class 2) Intermediate Chase

This race has an irritating habit of cutting up from a decent entry. That being said, there were four decent competitors on show here.

TIDAL BAY has proved himself top drawer, and had no problems here, taking it up 3 out and going clear. His principal opponent didn’t run up to form, but it’s difficult to fault the performance bar one jumping blunder. Although high in the handicap I wonder if he might be aimed at the Cheltenham handicaps at this distance. He was impressive in Grade 1 company last season.
RIMSKY ran creditably in second though clearly held by a far superior performer. He needs further and might be one to look out for in long distance staying chances, since he ran well in a couple of four-milers last season.
O’MALEY might be a bit of a ‘twilight horse’ since his three novice wins place him on a rating of 135 which is plenty high enough. His trainer may have to travel a bit to find opportunities.
ALBERTAS RUN was below form, but was not given a hard time in the latter stages once his chance had gone. A step back up in trip is needed. Apparently the ground was a bit on the soft side for him, and the horse is being aimed at the Hennessy.

2.40 2m 5f 0-115 Handicap Chase

CAVERS GLEN has run some decent races in defeat over fences and was given a chance to step up here. The impression is that around this trip on a stiff track suits best, and it’s worth noting that the closest he’s got over farther is a well held third. Staying on up the hill he did this well enough and may defy a rise in the weights.
MALKO DE BEAUMONT didn’t give his real running at Kelso. This was more like it but he couldn’t quite raise his game to get to the leader. He seems fairly versatile regarding trip and going though he does seem in his element when the mud is flying.
INNOMINATE performed a bit better than at Hexham and his jumping was sharper in the latter stages. A step up in trip should help.
DOC ROW got a bit closer than of late. He reported suffered a breathing problem on his previous run here, but there was no evidence of that this time. It might be interesting to see him run on a less testing course since his hurdles win came at Folkestone.
CADOUDALAS seems to find the final slog here a bit taxing. He’s got closer at the likes of Haydock and Newcastle, which have slopes up to the finish but aren’t as tough.
BALLYNURE fell away after being prominent early. His last two wins have been battles of attrition in heavy ground, one in particular when 4 finishers were strung out round Ayrshire. It could be that it wasn’t soft enough for him to see off these opponents.
EXTRA SMOOTH needed this race after a two year break. Worth keeping an eye on as he had fair form in his previous spell on the track.
STONERIGGS MERC has no chance round here in these conditions. Ignore his recent efforts and keep an eye out for him on a sharper track in less testing conditions.
DIGITAL MEDIA jumped left and struggled on seasonal debut. He’s not yet proven over farther than two miles.
PETERS STAR soon got behind on chasing debut and didn’t get past halfway.
LORD SAMPOSIN makes too many mistakes for his own good and soon had no chance. A minor novice event would be his best hope, but he needs to clean up his jumping act.
GOLDEN DUCK pulled up and his record to date suggests line can be drawn through him if there’s a significant up slope in the way. Two pulled ups in a row will help his price for the future, so readers are advised to note this one.

3.10 3m 0-135 Handicap Chase

SEE YOU THERE has come to the fore in two soft ground events round here. He will be aimed at better class chases. This was a fifth win at the course and he’s always worth considering here, but word is he’ll be aimed at higher class marathon events.
IDLE TALK had some fair stayers some way behind in finishing second. He was just held but this was a decent effort. He got round in his own time in the National and generally has had tough tasks in decent staying events. If his trainer can aim at slightly lesser events like this then he may well record his first win since January ’06.
THE GANGERMAN ran an honest enough race, being placed yet again, but probably found this slight rise in class from 0-126 to 0-135 a little too tough.
MONEY LINE hovered up staying handicaps in the south last season, but the handicapper may have put a temporary stop to it. He does get into 0-120 races though and that may be his chance, since he ran in contention for quite a way and will probably come on for the race, as seems to be the case with many from the stable this autumn.
LUCKY NELLERIE isn’t good enough in this company and was found out up the hill.
MERIGO had a pipe-opener over hurdles, and it could be that his rise through the weights last year has made him hit an end stop.
BANNISTER LANE led early and faded in the latter stages. He probably needed the race, will come on for it and presumably be seen campaigning on the long-distance chase circuit this season.
KORELO was aimed quite high after a year off. He had a number of impossible tasks before that and needs to race in easier company.
MOKUM pulled up and was reported as disliking the soft ground.
CANADA STREET fell at the second on seasonal debut. He has run creditably in staying chases, but his two chase wins have been in uncompetitive contests.
THE LUDER, who never showed before pulling up, and ARNOLD LAYNE, who ran prominently early then cried enough, seem plenty high enough in the weights.

3.45 2m 0-105 Novices’ Handicap Chase

TEENANDO is making decent progress off low marks in this company. There is probably another race or two in him yet, since he’ll not be hiked a massive amount for this win.
JUSTTHEONEFORYOU ran a creditable race and won’t always run into an improver like Teenando. Lightly raced and should progress to take a similar contest.
MONGORNO is five year old, but like many French bred horses has plenty of jumping experience. He has steadily improved in the UK, but I get the feeling he’s likely to have found his level now, and what you see is what you get.
SUPER BABY was held from 2 out and might benefit from a step up in trip. A winner over 2 miles 3 furlongs over hurdles, his recent seconds and thirds have been over at least that distance.
PLAYER was beaten 20 lengths here which is the closest he’s got over fences.
JORDAN’S LIGHT has run over hurdles and on the flat recently. This seems to be a bit of a ‘what we can we try now?’ sort of placing and he never threatened.
I had SEA SENOR down as the type for chasing, but two large margin defeats to date don’t inspire. It may be that staying handicap hurdles are his best chance at the moment.
WOODY VALENTINE put in another feeble effort.
THE BAY BRIDGE hadn’t been encouraging on recent hurdles efforts, and pulling up here was not a good chasing start.
TULLY HILL ran one passably good race in Ireland, if fifth of 7 can be described as such, but has been pathetic otherwise. He failed to negotiate the first here.
STORM PROSPECT showed no immediate aptitude for chasing on debut over fences, racing behind and pulling up in the latter stages.
ART HISTORIAN started off moderately over jumps and has got progressively worse over 7 efforts. He was struggling early.

4.15 3m 4f 0-95 Handicap Chase

‘Just a slog at twilight’ for some lowly chasers at the end of the afternoon, on a track now pretty well churned up. This race went to the form book with the two most accomplished performers involved at the finish.
MOUSTIQUE DE L’ISLE is never likely to win a prize for fastest animal in training but he does keep plodding on and it was enough to see off Huckleberry who has been performing with credit recently. He’s capable of performing well off a higher mark so isn’t a lost cause but he’s pretty much a win in turn sort of performer.
HUCKLEBERRY ran another creditable race. He was feeling the pinch against slightly better opponents when falling at the last at Kelso. However, there were no signs of ill-effects and he pushed a slightly better opponent until the run-in here. He lacks nothing in effort, seems to be taking his races well, and may well pick up another staying handicap before long.
SHULMIN ran a fair race in third. He’s not bad in the lowest class when things fall for him. Note that his record round Sedgefield over fences is 1552112 and he’s one of the first on the list in chases at the County Durham circuit.
STRUGGLING VAGABOND hit a purple patch in the winter of ‘06-‘07 round Fontwell and Plumpton, often with much cajoling from Jamie Goldstein. I doubt he would have appreciated a long road trip to slog round here. I hope that he’s not become cheesed-off with the business, but his recent form has been dire. He jumped right here, but then he frequently has to turn both ways at Fontwell.
SUPER BOSTON plugged round in his own time as seems to be his way these days.
BEAU SADDLER was reported as having a breathing problem, having a tongue-tie applied here, and with usual ‘sideburns’ replaced by a visor. He is not even a consideration as a betting proposition until some signs of revival are noted.
SMART THINKER was never going and is yet to get closer than 24 lengths fifth in 11 races.

Newcastle - October 30th

Going- Good (Good To Firm in places)

A siginificant drying out of the ground at Newcastle. It wouldn't have suited some of the 'grinding stayers'.

1.30 2m 4f Beginners’ Chase

MILL SIDE struck me as a potentially decent newcomer pre-race and proved it with a decent effort. Having only had the three hurdle runs before this, he’s got few miles on the clock for an eight-year-old. He stayed on well to win this and will benefit from a step up in trip.
THAT’S RHYTHM made it three seconds in a row, but didn’t lose anything in defeat to a decent looking opponent. Having been passed up the straight he was still staying on at the end and a step back up in trip is clearly needed.
BELON GALE benefited from his run behind That’s Rhythm at Hexham and built on it nicely here. I got the impression there that he’ll need time to develop, and I suspect this is short of his best trip. He was staying on at the end.
I was a little bit suspicious of HIGH BIRD HUMPHREY’s effort at Carlisle and felt it might have flattered him. This performance suggests that’s not the case and he’s a good deal better over fences that hurdling. His trainer should be able to find an easier event for him soon.
JASS plugged on having been caught for tow with 5 fences left. He probably ran up to his form but his chance of winning will come at a lesser level. Trainer and rider were subsequently quizzed over the running and riding of Jass with explanation noted, but he just didn't look good enough in this company.
ANDIJAN was hampered at the first which left him at the rear. He had made some progress but then hit the fourth last which did for him. He pops over the Irish Sea on a regular basis and should be competitive in lowly novice events.
NILE MOON found the move up from novice hunter class a tough one. He’ll neeed a drop back in class.
TEERIE EXPRESS, dropped in at the deep end on debut, was prominent early but lost touch from 6 out.
THE SHY MAN was stepped up in trip here but we learned nothing as he fell at the first. The runners dawdled to that fence, which is no good for novices, and I’d give him another chance in lesser company over at least this trip.
MY FRIEND PAUL promises little, now showing three non-completions and two 100 length plus defeats.
INDUSTRIAL STAR is a hurdles winner, but distinctly unpromising over fences to date.

3.00 3m 0-85 Handicap Chase

This was a very lowly contest with some very moderate animals and much ‘iffy’ jumping. However it was an entertaining race, with a few in with a chance over the last four.

SMART MAN’s form line doesn’t look bad for one at this level with plenty of placings showing. However, he’s not inclined to pull out any extra once he hits the front and just scraped home here. The fact that he was headed after the last gave him something to aim at and he got up close home, but he’s not one to lump large amounts on.
SAM CRUISE is a winning pointer but his recent Rules form has been littered with jumping errors. However there was a suggestion of a hope if he could get his act together. He made some awkward jumps early on but recovered and looked the winner in the straight only to thump 2 out. His rider just retained the partnership but lost an iron and though recovering Sam Cruise couldn’t quite get back up under pressure. He lacks nothing in effort, but his jockey will need super-glue if Sam Cruise doesn’t getting his jumping act together. Rider Robert Walford was suspended for 5 days for over-use of the whip.
JETHRO TULL looked to me to have been treated with kid-gloves recently, presumably because he’s rather fragile. Put into the race here he had a right cut and was only run out it on the run-in. Assuming he stays sound he may reward connections patience before long.
MOSCOW GOLD did not look an easy ride early on, being hard to settle and ungainly over his fences. He had every chance in the straight but was held over the last two. This was a fair effort but as an 11 year old he’s well exposed, and off a mark of 65 there will not be copious opportunities.
NELLIEDONETHAT made a fair debut for the Russell stable but couldn’t go with the leaders from 4 out.
DOUBLE PAST tired between the last two, but produced a best effort over fences.
MAE MOSS’s rating of 59 sums up her chasing ability, though she’s a bit better over hurdles and if she’s to win that’s where it would be most likely.
GREENOCK was never going and is better than this effort.
HOLLOWS MIST and CARPE MOMENTUM trundled round in the rear and don’t look good enough even at this level right now.
LOST IN NORMANDY should have done much better against this opposition. I suspect he’s better when able to lead but, although he does come up trumps occasionally, he’s not particularly reliable.
SHADE BONNY fell early when out the back.
The recent form of GALAHAD, TUATARA BAY and TRUE TEMPER makes depressing reading and all pulled up. Countdown contestants would have fun with the letters and large numbers…….

4.00 2m 4f 0-95 Handicap Chase

Another handicap big on numbers but low on decent recent form. The second last fence was omitted as an injured jockey lay on the landing side.

HALL OF FLAME was back to his best after a lay-off. He put in a spirited effort in the straight, presumably won’t be over-penalised for this and has good prospects of picking up a similar event. It’s possible that he’ll do better over a longer distance.
GENERAL HARDI is still a maiden after 21 efforts, but lacked nothing in effort. He was just held close home but this was a good effort. He shows enough willing to pick up a race somewhere along the line.
CHIGORIN is now 1 win from 40 and seems to lack pace at the business end. On the face of it this was a fair effort, but he’s not one that inspires as a likely winner.
PARTICLE’s performance in fourth was as good as any he’s produced to date, but he wasn’t good enough at the business end.
SANDS RISING briefly threatened 2 out, but had nothing more to give. He runs many fair races but struggles when push comes to shove.
NICKY TAM seemed to be going easily into the straight but ran out of petrol. He may be worth a try at two miles, but may be one who flatters to deceive in his races.
YANKEE HOLIDAY weakened in the straight. He is a headstrong type and I don’t think he truly stays this distance. This class is right, but a drop back to two miles would seem the best idea.
DIVEX and FRED BOJANGALS never got competitive.
EMERALD DESTINY faded in the straight. He’s probably better over further, but recent runs offer little encouragement.
TULLY CROSS won a poor contest at Hexham, and was shoved up in the weights for that. He probably isn’t as good as his current mark.
STAR FEVER finished out the back and is right out of form.
STORMY BEECH is probably better around two miles, but even allowing for that his recent form is dire and it could be the years are catching up.
HURRICANE BASIL pulled up and looks very slow. (BHA 'Why They Ran Badly' reported that Hurricane Basil bled from the nose)
BUCKSTRUTHER departed at the first.
LUCE BAY has achieved nothing to date and unseated early, as did SOMETHING GOLD who’s been well beaten in recent races.
SEEK THE TRUTH may just have been feeling a recent hard race at Carlisle. He got into contention in the straight, but faded and then fell at the last.