CATTERICK – Sunday December 28th
Going – Good to Soft
Catterick races are generally well patronised and we were treated to three decent sized fields for the chases.
1.25 3m 1 ½ f 0-110 Handicap Chase
COLDWELLS continued here progression and led this field all the way. She was challenged three out but ultimately showed a little more resolution than the second. She’s moderate but should continue to show up well at this level.
STONERIGGS MERC has been kept on the go, and his form cycle seems to be on the rise once again, though perhaps lacking the resolve of the winner. He is a safe enough jumper and will likely pick up a race before long, possibly here or at Musselburgh.
SEA CADET never got to the leaders but picked his way through late on for third. He’s not much higher than his previous wining mark and may be coming to hand. Previous evidence suggests he wouldn’t want it any softer than this yielding ground.
ORANG OUTAN was stepping up significantly on previous trips. He got in with a chance two out but then couldn’t summon up a further effort. This was an improvement on previous efforts this season, and a step back to three miles or just below may help.
CARRYDUFF made progress on the home bend to have a chance 3 out, but that was as close as he got. He has good form at Towcester and it could be the uphill finish helps, although I note his other places have been at Sedgefield which is rather a contrast.
WIZARDS DUST, conqueror of Coldwells last time, dropped back into the pack here. He had every chance three out but faded. It could be that a shade faster ground will help him.
SHARP BELLINE was comfortably held and hasn’t shown her best yet this season.
PRINCE MOUSE raced too freely early on and paid the penalty in the later stages. He’s very lightly raced for an 11 year old, didn’t shine in points or hunter chases in the past and looks likely to struggle in these events. He was tongue-tied here but that made no apparent difference.
PRINCE OF SLANE was struggling fully a mile out. I would have expected slightly better after a glimmer of promise on his previous outing.
POLAR GALE was not significantly enlivened by the application of blinkers. The best course of action might be to wait for firmer ground in late spring.
LOCH VIC was flattered by a second of three finishers at Southwell and struggled in a more demanding contest here before pulling up.
STORMY BEECH couldn’t get near the front and didn’t look interested.
2.25 2m Class 3 Novices’ Chase
A wide range of abilities on show here, with a winner who will surely go on to much greater things.
PALOMAR progressed swiftly over hurdles and looks to be going much the same way over fences. Have been settled in the rear he was brought through steadily to challenge 2 out. He eased away from this point to win with any amount in hand. He jumped well enough given that the pace wasn’t as quick as he would like and looks one to make a mark amongst the top grade.
DOUBLE VODKA saw off the rest of the field comfortably. He’s shown enough in two chase outings to suggest a run of the mill novice chase should be a formality.
HERNANDO’S BOY was left behind from three out by superior opponents. However he jumps well and should win again in easier company.
BEDLAM BOY was still in contention when coming to grief two out. This was his best effort over fences, but he gets too low at times and needs to jump better.
FALCON’S TRIBUTE performed as well as could be expected against opposition that was too good for him. Handicaps will suit better.
ARCALIS would have beaten most of these a mile over hurdles, but was never going well enough on his chase debut.
ISLAND KEY was outclassed and made no show.
KING’S QUAY found this much tougher than the moderate 5-runner event he won at Fakenham.
PENDLE FOREST was once again totally outclassed. I really can’t see what the Johnson stable get from running the likes of this mare and Moyne Pleasure in events where they have not an earthly of getting competitive. A return to lowly handicap hurdles would be a bit of a help.
MARSAM led early but was passed at the fifth and quickly folded. He capitulated so quickly that I wonder if he may have a problem.
2.55 2m 3f 0-100 Handicap Chase
Very few got seriously competitive in this event.
PLAYER clearly benefitted from his seasonal debut at Carlisle and, after being shaken up a mile out, came through smoothly to pick off the leaders in the straight. He gives the impression of one who has a few pounds improvement in him.
IT’S BERTIE has looked happy blazing the trail recently and saw off all bar the winner quite comfortably. He’s unlikely to go up much if at all in the ratings, so looks to have every chance of recording a victory in current form.
CLOUDLESS DAWN picked his way through the field from 4 out, but never got to the leaders. She won a novice handicap off 110 in November 2006, so off a mark of 98 she may be well placed to pick up a handicap before long.
ITALIANO stayed on for fourth without getting seriously competitive.
I’M YOUR MAN came from the rear to briefly threaten three out but then faded. He seems held on his current mark.
CAILIN GO MAITH was prominent for a way, was struggling at the ninth, but did keep going to hold on to sixth. She’s had 28 attempts and only a second and two thirds to show for it.
FARNE ISLE made no show and chasing form continues to be uninspiring.
PHYSICAL FORCE cried enough five out. This was a seasonal debut, and he presumably needed the race, and all his best chasing from has been on good or faster ground.
SOUND OF CHEERS dropped away from 5 out and is better than this performance suggests.
TOULOUSE EXPRESS showed no interest. He occasionally runs a decent race, but isn’t betting material.
ZA BEAU has some ability but is a dodgy jumper and dislodged his rider at the first.
EBORARRY couldn’t get to the front and sulked before pulling up.
MAKE A MARK showed nothing here and has failed to make a mark on the track for sometime.
OCEAN DANCER has been pathetic on the track since returning from a four year lay-off in April 2008 and it’s questionable why connections are bothering with him.
The problem with MORE SHENNANIGANS is finding a race where he runs off his 57 rating. 20/1 on racing debut was the lowest price he’s ever been and with hindsight that was pretty poor value.
SURPRISE PENSION made a promising debut in Division One of the Maiden Hurdle. He was only rated 59 on the flat, but could be a bit better over hurdles and should improve since he looked distinctly green here.
Bumper winner STAGECOACH PEARL ran a respectable hurdling debut, and MOONWALKING picked off the latter for second late on.
CALCUTTA CUP, away from the jumping scene since a couple of decent efforts and picked up Division Two of the Maiden. He looked likely to win comfortably, but walked through the last and just held on. He should come on for the race, both experience and fitness wise.
BURNSWOOD ran a good race in second, battling back determinedly when held. He seems to have the required attitude.
WOODY VALENTINE showed a lot more enthusiasm when able to dominate in the Selling Handicap Hurdle. He has been transferred from Dianne Sayer to her daughter Evelyn Slack and was recording a first win in four years here. He may have been beating ‘trees’ in this event, but the way he won must surely have boosted his self esteem, if there is an equine equivalent!