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.

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