SEDGEFIELD – Tuesday 9th December
Going – Soft
The meeting survived the frost and we were presented with two chases, one a maiden with two serious protagonists and 5 makeweights, and the second a competitive mid-distance handicap. The fence coming out of the back straight was omitted due to the low sun.
1.20 3m 3f Maiden Chase
The early departure of one of the two competitors with any reasonable chance of winning rendered this a schooling exercise for those who could stand up, four completing at their own vastly different paces.
The shade odds-on favourite TANK TOP led until clipping the top of the sixth and knuckling over on landing. He was up and galloping round loose, so seems none the worse for his mishap.
Once Tank Top departed it was left to BELON GALE to jump round for victory. He got a bit close to a couple but generally jumped competently. Difficult to take much more out of it other than he stayed the distance at a steady pace. I presume that he will now be aimed at long distance novice events and possibly staying handicaps.
AJAY, blinkered for the first time, needed a confidence booster and got it here, jumping round in a clear second place without remotely troubling the winner. We will learn more once he returns to handicap company.
THE ARTFUL FOX was schooled round for a remote third. He is a dual point winner so has a little ability and now needs to be aimed at low grade handicaps.
TURBULENT FLIGHT bumbled round a fence or more behind the leader for most of the way and was beaten something like a quarter of a mile. His profile to date is not inspiring.
PRE TOKEN settled behind the leader but fell at the fourth.
TREEHOUSE was already some way back in fourth when his rider was dislodged as he was hampered by a loose horse at the sixth.
2.50 2m 4f 0-105 Handicap Chase
WHATCANYASAY was held by course specialist Stormy Beech here last time, but stepped up to hold on for victory here. All four wins have come in chases here and, given that he didn’t win by far so won’t be over-penalised, there should be further opportunities.
EASBY MANDARIN worked his way through to lay it down to the leader approaching the last. Hard as he battled he couldn’t get his head in front, and should lose his maiden tag in a similar contest.
JUSTWHATEVERULIKE performed better than on recent efforts. He looks handicapped to his mark and couldn’t offer any extra after two out.
DAWN RIDE progressed from the rear to bag fourth place and this trip looks better for him than three miles on recent evidence.
WATCH MY BACK went well to two out and his record suggests a try on better ground might help.
ROOBIHOO raced prominently or led for a good way, but his rider was stoking the coal three out and he fell away. I tried hard to find a useful pattern but, all things considered, this was the right sort of race and he was found wanting. He probably needs a weak contest where he can dominate.
SHULMIN has won over this trip round here, but generally finds things happening a bit fast and needs stepping back to 3m 3f (record is 155121). She made a little progress before two out but didn’t threaten. Understandably the stable will probably have a go at this distance if there’s nothing else suitable, given that she enjoys this course so much.
RING OF BEARA raced prominently to three out. Best effort since moving over the Irish Sea, but we need to see a lot more if he is to become a betting proposition.
SYCHO FRED made some progress to three out but fell away swiftly after that. His record suggests he’s much happier in the summer sunshine.
FLAMING HECK led or disputed until giving way from three out and ended up well beaten. His last win was in a soft contest over the minimum trip at Hexham, beating a three-miler by 29 lengths, and he might be best served in races around two miles.
PANAMA AT ONCE stumbled on landing and fell at the first.
HERBIE unseated at the fourth, having ditched his rider at the first on his previous chasing effort.
SKIPPING CHAPEL was never in the race on his chasing debut and pulled up two out.
NEVSKY BRIDGE, damned as a weak finisher here more than once, got the better of a barging match with BLAST THE PAST in the last race at Sedgefield. Credit where credit’s due and she deserved the win on the day. The second goes well at Sedgefield and may secure consolation there soon.
As I write Hexham has failed an inspection, although it was reduced to a hurdle card due to continuing ground problems on the chase course.
The timetable up to Christmas sees the following meetings:
Sun 14th – MUSSELBURGH
Mon 15th – AYR
Tues 16th – Catterick
Sat 20th – Newcastle
Sun 21st – Carlisle
Not sure I can make it to Musselburgh this Sunday, but I’ll do full coverage of the Scottish meetings and chases from the North of England meetings. We are in the lap of the weather gods at the moment. Forecast for Musselburgh is reasonably optimistic and we have not had hard frosts in the East of Scotland in recent nights.