Going – Heavy
The last Northern jump meeting before the pause for Christmas saw another all chase meeting. The original plan, as detailed on the course website, was that hurdle races should be suspended during November due to on-going drainage work, but this has continued into December. No update on the website regarding the future position, though I assume we won’t see much hurdling this jump season. In truth saving the turf on the hurdles/flat course will probably do the turf a power of good anyway since it must take a hammering.
With plenty of rain hitting the North West the ground was once again very testing.
12.50 2m 4f Class 3 Novices’ Chase
This was a decent little novice event to begin the afternoon’s entertainment.
SKIPPERS BRIG progressed steadily to join issue 3 out. He took over 2 out, then walked through the last but stayed on to win well. He should play a part in decent novice chases where the accent is on stamina.
CHIEF DAN GEORGE progressed from his Sedgefield chasing debut. He found one too good here, but he’ll progress and will be suited by a step up in trip. His trainers plan was not to rush him and I believe this will pay dividends in time.
BOLD RANSOM made an excellent chasing debut. A hurdle winner at Newcastle over three miles in soft, a stamina test was likely to suit. He couldn’t raise his game enough on the flat but he jumped very well here looks a ready made chase winner.
COE raced prominently but found things a bit too tough from 3 out. He has been given a chase handicap mark of 128 and it remains to see if he can live up to that.
NETHERLEY showed much promise, returning off a near two year break. He led early, was still there 4 out but tired up the hill. Donald McCain’s charges have benefited from a run this season and Netherley should show up at the business end next time out.
RAGADOR was never dangerous and needs an easier task.
SIERRA VICTOR was in the rear early and stayed there, jumping untidily. He’s been remote on three NH outings to date.
Previous winner ROLE ON landed steeply and fell at the second.
STAND ON ME made some progress after the eleventh, but the effort was short-lived and he was pulled up. He was only winner of a moderate handicap at Cartmel and nay chance he has is likely to be in that company.
AURORAS ENCORE, rated 139 over hurdles, dropped away quickly after the eleventh. He didn’t seem to relish the slog round here on chasing debut.
CADEAUX SINGER was a poor hurdler, and the meagre evidence up to his second fence departure suggests that he’ll be no better over fences.
1.25 3m ½f 0-90 Handicap Chase
TOY GUN has now got his act together over fences and recorded a second successive win. He closed on the clear leader approaching 4 out, took it up before the last and stayed on. He will likely be bumped up 10lbs or more for this which will make the task tougher in future.
NELLIEDONETHAT led and was allowed to stride on for the first two miles. The field closed at the bottom of the hill, but to his credit he stuck to his task before running out of puff at the last. He has done enough to suggest a minor handicap chase will fall his way.
MAN OF THE MOMENT, a traveller from Jim Best’s stables in Lewes, ran in snatches. At times he didn’t seem over keen, but seemed happier going uphill than down. He stayed on in the later stages, and may be worth a try Towcester which has a similar slogging finish.
BLUE RISING has got into a pattern of threatening to get into his races then faltering. He’s still a maiden and at present is one I’d oppose.
HOLLOWS MIST was second in a dire contest here last time but was comfortably put in his place here. Nothing in his profile suggests he is betting material.
ESQUILLON had been running in selling hurdles previously and showed no promise on his chasing debut.
BEAU PEAK has looked slow to date and jumped abysmally in the rear before being pulled up after the tenth.
1.55 3m 2f 0-135 Handicap Chase
ROYAL MACKINTOSH, who had run two sound races this season, picked this up with a degree of comfort. Presented with a collection of mainly out of form or slow opponents, he was much too sharp up the hill. That’s three wins at Carlisle and Alan Mactaggart will be on the look out for more opportunities here.
BALLYVOGE was put in his place from 2 out having been up with the pace all the way. He has a good record in 11 jumping efforts, goes well in the mud and is 2132 round Carlisle.
MATMATA DE TENDRON is gradually working his way into a bit of form. His Wetherby run had offered some encouragement, and he led or disputed for much of the way here, eventually giving way from four out. He plugged on to hold third. He needs a slog in the mud and his record around Sedgefield is particularly strong.
MANOUBI had every chance 4 out but couldn’t match the leaders up the hill.
SUPER ROAD TRAIN raced prominently but weakened from 3 out. He’s 10lbs higher than his best winning mark and it shows.
LAERTES never looked happy and pulled up. That’s four poor runs this season. It’s possible he may be better on a flatter track, since he galloped his rivals silly on yielding ground at Perth in April, but that may be clutching at straws on my part. He’s entered in the Lincolnshire National at Market Rasen on Boxing Day.
DELRAY BEACH, blinkered in the presumed hope of better, took a little more interest than at Ayr. However, she still needed regular encouragement and lost touch down the far side for the last time before pulling up.
2.25 2m 5f 0-125 Mares’ Handicap Chase
MORE LIKELY really seems to be on good terms with the world at the moment and, even away from her favourite Kelso, put up a good performance to win this contest. She led or disputed from the start and stayed on well up the hill.
CHICKAPEAKRAY generally runs a decent race, although she would appear to be handicapped to the hilt at them moment. She never got a blow in at the leader, but picked off here stable mate for second.
ROSIE ALL OVER tracked More Likely for much of the way, but a couple of mistakes down the far side set her back and ultimately cost her chance of winning. She tired on the run-in though tried hard enough for second. She’s probably capable of a bit better and should not be written off. A step up in trip would help her.
MINSTER ABBI was prominent at the eighth, but under pressure soon after and struggled home a distant fourth. She seems to be handicapped on here hurdle form at the moment and needs her mark eased over fences.
SCARVAGH DIAMOND is right out of sorts so far this season. She should be competitive in this sort of event, but was never travelling.
STAR OF RAVEN was out of the handicap and struggled from the start, pulling up before the ninth. She would be better off in 0-100 events.
3.00 2m 4f 0-105 Handicap Chase
LAGO has been moved back and forth between hurdling and chasing. He won this with any amount in hand, being eased considerably in the latter stages. He seems to have dropped to a manageable mark now and it would make sense if he appeared under a penalty.
HERBIE got his jumping act together and a sound completion here will have done him no harm. He stayed on from the rear fro second and is now going the right way.
TEENANDO had every chance approaching four out, but then pecked at that fence before blundering three out. That probably cost him his chance since the winner was going so well. He went up 19lbs for his two wins and might just have reached a plateau on 94.
DAWN RIDE plugged on into fourth without getting competitive.
DEUTERONOMY led until two out and then weakened. His record before this over fences was pretty good (F2152) and it might be that the uphill finish found him out. I wouldn’t dismiss him back on a less testing track.
ROOBIHOO was never going, pulled up and hasn’t threatened this season. He’s yet to win over fences and last won a race in 2005. Roobihoo was reported as being distressed on pulling up.
RECKLESS VENTURE showed up early but was a spent force by the ninth and pulled up. Peter Buchanan reported that reckless Venture hung left and had a breathing problem.
BALLYNURE raced close up until blundering at the ninth. That seemed to knock the stuffing out of him and he pulled up not long after.
MR FLOPPY struggled in the rear on his chasing debut following a year lay-off. He did show a glimmer of ability on his last hurdles outing so may need a bit of time.
3.30 2m 0-90 Handicap Chase
NORMINSTER really seems to have clicked at this lowly level this season. His form tailed off over hurdles in the summer, but a couple of months rest seems to have done the trick. He followed up two decent Hexham performances with a willing effort here, taking over two out and staying on. His trainer will be hoping he doesn’t go more than 5lbs up since that would keep him for another go at this level, but he’s going well enough to suggest he might make a mark in a slightly higher class.
Rayson Nixon’s Ettrickbridge stable is hardly full of world-beaters, but what he has shown that what he can do is to get a decent tune out of a moderate performer.
GUNADOIR looked to me as one with a chance if she jumped round OK. She did that nicely but couldn’t get to the more experienced winner over the last two. These events often don’t take much winning and she certainly showed enough so suggest a minor contest is within her capabilities.
BULLIES ACRE profile isn’t the most inspiring, and off 62 chances are limited, but he did seem happy near the pace here, giving way between the last two. He might squeak a chase at the lowest level.
MISTRAL DE LA COUR had every chance three out but couldn’t race his game. He’s capable of challenging on his day, possibly in less testing conditions.
STORM SURGE showed a hint of ability on chasing debut, being prominent until falling away steadily from three out.
Tony McCoy’s persistence worked the oracle with COOLDINE LAD last time, but he reverted to type under Denis O’Regan here. That’s no insult to O’Regan, more a comment on McCoy’s ability to tune into a signal others can’t find. Cooldine Lad was putting out distress signals four out and was left behind up the hill.
NICOZETTO was never seriously in the race and needs to step up in trip again.
FARNE ISLE was never in with a chance and has struggled over the past two years or so. Farne Isle was reported as having a breathing problem.
MOYNE PLEASURE has shown ability in the past, but I get the impression he’s a bit cheesed off with the whole business right now. He was never really going and pulled up late on.
SILVERDALES kept Moyne Pleasure company racing wide, but never made an impact and joined that one in pulling up. He has been well behind on all outings to date.
A MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL READERS!