Ayr - Monday 15th December
Going – Heavy
Although the going was heavy the impression was that the runners were getting through the ground. There weren’t quite the number of exhausted finishers as at Doncaster last Saturday.
The second last down the far side was omitted in all chases. This resulted in a fairly sharp turn to avoid the obstacle and there was a little scrimmaging at this point in the chases.
12.25 2m 4f 0-105 Handicap Hurdle
SOUL ANGEL stayed on in the latter stages to record a first win, just heading Polobury in the shadow of the post. All his placed form ahs been with cut in the ground, he clearly stays this trip and goes well round here.
POLOBURY stayed on determinedly from the rear, looked to have won it 50 yards out but was then ‘done’ close home. Another who is suited by cut in the ground, 4 out of 5 places having been achieved in heavy, she has a tendency to get behind in her races and stay on at the end. If she’s kept to staying events she will probably pick up a race somewhere along the line.
SEEKING STRAIGHT has shown some up and down hurdling form over the past couple of seasons. He came close here in similar conditions last season, and on this occasion seemed to have cracked it as he led nearly all the way, conditional Campbell Gillies judging the pace well, only to be swamped on the run-in as he ran out of puff. The tactics worked well, he handled the ground and is probably best around this distance. He should manage to win a small race.
SOLWAY SUNSET raced prominently for a long way, but was left behind from the last. She was the one of the first four who would be suited by better ground than this, and on that basis this was a sound effort.
FLYING DOCTOR couldn’t get to the leaders in fifth and is another who would probably appreciate slightly less testing ground.
Nothing else in the field got seriously competitive at the business end.
12.55 2m Class 4 Beginners’ Chase
QUICUYO set off jumping very well in front. He was tiring at the last but his challenger fell and left him clear. He trainer suggested he’ll be moved up to 2m 4f before long. Useful conditional jockey Ryan Mania lost his seven pound claim with this win.
JUSTTHEONEFORYOU never got to the leader at any stage and was gifted second at the last. He was tired and beaten from 2 out.
STORM PROSPECT showed no more aptitude for chasing here than he had at Carlisle. He was soon behind and came home a distant third.
MOHAYER closed to challenge at the last, having chased the leader throughout. He got too close and fell, eventually being remounted to take fourth prize money. He didn’t get very far before falling last time, but assuming this fall hasn’t affected him too much he should pick up a similar event.
PISTOL BASC was left a bit at the start, and never got in touch, falling at the last when well behind.
1.25 3m 1f 0-125 Handicap Chase
KING BARRY kept up his admirable record in Scotland and the North. He jumped really well and crucially out-jumped his rivals in the latter stage, staying on determinedly once the winning post was in sight. He should continue to be effective in Northern staying company, and he will remain below the 130 bracket after this which should prove crucial in the short term. If he gets above 130 then life may start to get tough.
JASS ran an admirable race in second. He goes well in testing ground and his first chase win is surely only delayed a little. It was no disgrace being beaten by this winner and he saw off the rest comfortably.
RYMINSTER ran a fair race, and he hasn’t run many poor races in recent times. I’ve documented before that he is best after a break since regular races just seem to take a little edge from his game. He does however pay his way with place money. If he does have a rest of 6 weeks or more then look out for his return since he can win off his current mark.
SKENFRITH is a bit of an enigma, but does possess ability when it can be coaxed out of him. He got outpaced from the eleventh but plugged on again for fourth. I wouldn’t make him my sole selection in any race, but he can go well in testing conditions and might just pop in at a fancy price somewhere along the line.
GETINBYBUTONLYJUST continues to disappoint. He’s steadily coming down the handicap but isn’t threatening a win at the moment. I’ve tried hard to find a pattern in his placed form, but I can’t find any significant trends.
MR PREACHER MAN was taken wide and was not out of it when falling 5 fences from home.
SOMETHING SILVER had made no significant show and pulled up two out. I’m at a loss to know why he was 9/2 in this field, since his placed form is at shorter distances.
ALMIRE DU LIA raced prominently for a while but lost touch a mile out and pulled up in the straight. The conditions shouldn’t have been a problem and he doesn’t seem on his game. I suspect he’s one who needs a few races under his belt each season.
DELRAY BEACH either had a problem or wasn’t interested as she swiftly became detached and was pulled up after the runners had gone not much more than a mile. She hasn’t run a decent race since November 2007.
1.55 2m 4f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
The race was run at a steady early pace.
MOSCOW CATCH, a really nice sort who progressed in bumpers, was at or near the head of affairs for most of the trip. His jumping was impressive for a newcomer and he looks a natural. He was distinctly green once pressed over the last two flights, but picked up well on the flat. He should progress from here, had no trouble with the testing ground and will stay further.
CALIN ROYAL, a winner at Hexham last time, was driven along 3 out but had rallied into contention approaching the last. He looked on the stretch, didn’t get high enough and crashed out. He got up quickly and assuming he’s none the worse looks one to pick up another novice event.
SIGNALMAN was held by the winner but lost nothing in defeat. He may be worth a try in a handicap off his current mark of 111. He moved from Italy earlier this year since when he’s been in the first 3 in 8 out of 9 flat and hurdles contests. It might be worth noting his only failure over that period was on fast ground.
WOODHILL a winner of a point-to-point from 9 efforts, performed admirably on his second effort over hurdles. On this evidence he should win a run-of-the-mill event.
GRAND THEATRE found this tougher than his Kelso race, coming off the bridle before 3 out and not having the pace of the leaders. It could be that a step back up in trip is required.
2.25 2m 5f 0-110 Novices’ Handicap Chase
SAMMY SPIDERMAN threw a bit of a wobbly four out at Carlisle and I can only assume something distracted him on that occasion. He did nothing wrong here, challenging from three out and leading close home. Assuming he keeps on the straight and narrow he looks the type to pick up another race.
DOC ROW is suited by testing conditions all his placed form having come on soft or heavy. He went well enough here and jumped well in the main, but a mistake at the last may just have cost him.
MITCHEL HENRY ran a cracking race from well out of the handicap, though this close up finish might find him moved from 71 into the 80s. That being said, he’s learning fast under rules and with a drop in class he should pick up a race. He couldn’t go with the first two from the last but performed with credit.
MESSAGER, stepping up from pointing wins and a maiden hunter chase win found this all a bit too tough. He may need some time to get used to the competition at this level. He was basically outpaced from 4 out.
SEEK THE TRUTH was under driving by the twelfth and fell away after that.
TREASURED MEMORIES was soon in rear and her early seen falls seemed to have affected her confidence.
DUKE OF MALFI led early but weakened a mile out and pulled up. This wasn’t his form but he was shunted up 9lbs for beating Norminster at Hexham, which seems harsh.
WATERFORD made a couple of mistakes before unseating at the eighth. He’s achieved little to date over fences.
LORD SAMPOSIN showed a glimmer of promise in his early chasing efforts, but he has lost the plot now. His jumping was poor; he soon got well behind and finally managed to jettison his rider 5 out. He seems to need a long spell on the schooling ground and a confidence boosting clear round on the racecourse.
3.00 2m Class 4 Mares Only Novices’ Hurdle
A very moderate event which BRACKENMOSS looked to have it at her mercy. She took a good deal of time to get going. Settled 5 lengths adrift early, she picked up through the stragglers from 4 out, picked off the leaders in the straight and won comfortably in the end.
PRIMROSE TIME’s previous form over hurdles showed only a glimmer of competitiveness. However, she did well enough here if held by the winner. She seemed to enjoy herself blazing a trail and may score if her trainer can find another poorly contested mares' event.
SISTERHOOD lost ground in mid race but picked up again in the latter stages. She would presumably be suited by a longer trip.
LADY CHATELAINE was 14¾ lengths in fourth and her mark of 80 would seem to set the level for the race. She isn’t very good but seemed to do her best. Her chance will come in lowly handicaps.
No chance of positives for LA DONNA DEL LAGO, FREE SATNAV DOTCOM and BUMBLE ROSE who were all seen off very easily.
3.30 2m NH Flat
I was really impressed with BYGONES OF BRID at Hexham and the impression was further enhanced by this performance. He pulled early, but cruised into the lead 5 furlongs out and won with his head in his chest. I understand he may be aimed at the Grade 2 bumper at Ascot on Saturday. After that there are possibilities that he might be sold on, or maybe kept for the Championship bumpers, and the third option would be to go straight to hurdling.
TWENTYNINEBLACK, whose dam was a winner in France up to 2m 5f, was well held by the winner but clear of the remainder. A promising start and he’d be unlucky to run into one as sharp as this winner next time.
MAXWELLTON BRAES, who is a non-thoroughbred, stayed on for third and will presumably be suited by a longer trip over hurdles.
AGAINST THE WIND was another who picked up places late on.
NORTHERN CROSS, a £40,000 Wylie purchase, was left behind from 3 out. He’s probably capable of better in time, but I do think the owner splashes some silly money around for some distinctly average performers.