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.

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