Thursday, 29 January 2009

Newcastle - A Tale of Mud, Sunshine and Pea Soup

NEWCASTLE – Wednesday 28th January

Going – Heavy

Gosforth Park kept the National Hunt flag flying as Leicester and Exeter succumbed to the rain, but the conditions were very testing. Even here the weather varied within a short space of time, from bright sunshine to thick fog.

12.50 2m 4f 0-90 Handicap Chase

This was a very ordinary event which provided an excellent opportunity for NELLIEDONETHAT to add to his Musselburgh victory running off the same mark since that race was a conditionals’ event. He was always going well; he shook off a blunder 4 out to lead 3 out and held the second on the flat. He seemed to have felt he had done enough on the flat, and I get the impression there’s still a bit more to come.
MR TWINS does put in some creditable efforts at times but there are many poor runs in his record recently, it’s ages since he won and his record is 2 wins from 66. He led to three out and didn’t let the winner get clear, sticking on well on the flat.
STORMONT DAWN was never in the hunt but picked his way through late on for third. His only win was at Carlisle and it seems clear that he needs the mud, and the field to come back to him in the latter stages of a race.
WOODVIEW raced prominently but was under the shove by the eleventh and gradually faded in the straight.
BALLYNURE was struggling when blundering badly at the eighth. He kept on past a few in the straight. He’s dropped down to near his winning mark, and his form picked up last spring.
NEIDPATH CASTLE normally benefits from a run after a break, so the outing may help, but he’s not got very close to the winner for some time.
MISTRAL DE LA COUR faded from 5 fences out, and trailed in some way behind. Remarkably he beat Kauto Star by a short head in 2005, but is furlongs behind that form now. It may be worth noting that he has a decent record on fast ground, so it might just be worth noting him for a lowly handicap come the spring.
RING OF BEARA looks slow and has done nothing of note since crossing the Irish Sea.
FARNE ISLE was pulled up and recent form gives no encouragement.
STAR OF RAVEN had lost touch by the tenth and was pulled up before four out. He has won on soft, but I suspect good or faster would serve him better.
PERLY SPENCER is not suited by these conditions, and why his connections choose to run him on ground he struggles on I have not a clue.
SOUND OF CHEERS showed a glimmer of form first time out, but has put up two dismal performances since.
WEE GEORGE’s form to date is very poor and it was no surprise that he was pulled up.
WHISPERING MOOR won a hurdle at Perth in 2005, but looks in terminal decline these days.

2.30 2m ½ f 0-105 Handicap Chase

The two fences going away from the stands were omitted due to the low sun.

SHELOMOH added to his hard earned Towcester win with another battling victory. He challenged all the way up the straight and held off a less than keen looking second on the flat. A rest might be needed now, but given time to recover may not have finished winning yet.
TOULOUSE EXPRESS had every chance having been prominent all the way. He gave the impression he could have won this, but didn’t look all that willing close home.
DRUMBOY got closer here than he has in Ireland, but that probably says much about the lack of quality in this race. He looked to be struggling four out, but kept on well enough to be back in contention at the last only to be held from there.
CARRIETAU raced prominently but once again offered nothing at the business end.
WATCH THE WIND was beaten a long way last of the five finishers. He has shown nothing of note this season and has yet to win over fences.
PASS THE CLASS was leading three out when hitting the fence and falling. Given the way the race panned out he still had a chance. That being said this isn’t the first time his jumping has let him down in the latter stages of a race.
FRITH was plugging on when brought down by Pass The Class. He remains competitive in this class and generally gives his running.
DUKE OF MALFI was struggling a long way out and pulled up before four out. The event he won at Hexham was nothing special and he’s struggling off a 9lbs higher mark.
LERIDA never looked interested.
PLAYER departed at the first, appearing to over-jump and knuckle on landing.

3.40 3m 0-110 Handicap Chase

Little more than an hour after bright sunshine had required the omission of two fences, fog descended to bring a hint of farce to the proceedings. The track could barely be seen from the stands and the race commentator had plenty of time to fill between intermittent glimpses of the runners. It was so bad that the only way he could identify the winner was by the picture of a single horse pulling up! One assumes that the measure of seeing the next fence was passed, but the whole event was a bit ridiculous. My comments are based on rough form comments and glimpses from the video.

This was an event full of out of form or regressive chasers, a few with many miles on the clock.

PANAMA AT ONCE had not got far enough in two outings to be tested, once when coming down at the first and the next time when his jockey performed a rodeo act at Sedgefield. He was disputing the lead entering the straight, and came clear from that point. He won on his chase debut at Hexham in 2007, and clearly possesses some ability, but hasn’t shown it very often. I suppose one could surmise that he acts in a bog in the fog, but that is of questionable value!
GETBYBUTONLYJUST is a frustrating individual who possesses ability but doesn’t seem inclined to exert himself to the full. He might pick up one of these plodders races, but would things to fall for him.
MANOUBI is regressive. He’s falling down the handicap but not threatening to win and made his way through from the rear for third.
DARINA’S BOY apparently had every chance and wasn’t good enough from four out. He probably needs less testing conditions and at least managed a completion which wasn’t the case on his last two efforts.
SHARP BELLINE raced prominently for much of the way then faded. He’s falling down the handicap and the years appear to be catching up with him.
SKENFRITH is an all or nothing performer, and the nothings vastly outnumber the alls. He may pop up again sometime but is desperately tough to catch right.
ALMIRE DU LIA was prominent early but finished well behind. He’s out of sorts at the moment.
HIGH FIVE was with the leaders early, but was struggling by the eleventh and pulled up before four out. He was 8lbs out of the handicap and needs to be in a lower class to be competitive.
The form of GLACIAL RAMBLER’s last two outing read strongly with 5 of the placed horse having won since. However Glacial Rambler showed nothing here being pulled up after two miles.
TRISON’S STAR looked to have an opportunity in this company, but fell at the tenth.

James Ewart’s stable continued in fine form, BISHOPS HEIR emerging from the gloom as the winner of the bumper. This one is a brother to Turbo Linn and built on a promising debut at Kelso to win with some comfort, judging by the six length margin. The chances are that the Ewart yard has a decent one on their hands here.

The going is currently Good/Good to Soft for Musselburgh’s top jumps meeting of the season this coming Sunday. Hopefully there will be a decent crowd and there should be some competitive racing. Howard Johnson’s horses are well entered up at the East Lothian venue and it would not surprise me if he adds to his fine seasonal record at the track.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Ayr - and added January Meeting

AYR - Sunday 25th January

Going – Heavy

Hexham was reduced to an all-hurdle card, but that succumbed to two inches of snow. Meanwhile an extra was added at Ayr, where the conditions were very testing. The weather in this part of Scotland can be warmer than many parts of northern Britain at this time, but on the flip side there does tend to be quite a bit of the wet stuff.

The second last fence down the back remained out of use, and needs to be properly railed off since there is too much scrimmaging as the runners take a sharp turn round the outside of it.

1.35 2m 4f 0-115 Handicap Chase

I’d put a question mark against SAMMY SPIDERMAN since he threw a wobbly at Carlisle a couple of runs back, veering violently across four out and unseating. However, his other form this season can’t be faulted and he won this event with a bit in hand. His current mark of 90 gives plenty of room for manoeuvre in this class and the way he’s going at the moment suggests another win is likely, particularly while the testing conditions which he relishes remain.
JULIUS CAESAR’s recent chasing form had been blighted by some poor jumping. However, he put in a clear round here and at least bustled up the winner in the closing stages, finishing well clear of the remainder. He really lost his way after a good spell over hurdles and fences in 2004/2005. On this evidence he should pick up a handicap.
SOMETHING SILVER bowled along jumping well in front but ran out of fuel two out. He paid for some good from early last year and is 13lbs higher than his last winning mark. The conditions and distance suited here, so the evidence is that he is currently held by the handicapper.
GUNADOIR made a decent chasing debut at Carlisle, but in two runs since then here jumping has not been good enough. The Carlisle run was in a 0-90 and a drop back to that sort of class would put less pressure on her.
KORELO has been in woeful form since early 2006, with absences suggesting physical problems. At his best he would leave this company well behind but he seems totally out of sorts now and retirement beckons.
RECKLESS VENTURE went out like a light from four out. One look at his stats suggests he’s better off at Hexham.
LAGO won with a lot in hand at Carlisle, but was hammered to the tune of 18lbs for that. Given that the rest of his recent form ahs been moderate or poor it wasn’t a huge surprise to see him struggle here, and he seems likely to struggle unless dropped significantly.

2.05 3m 1f Class 3 Novices’ Chase

KILLYGLEN put up a decent performance to win this. He jumped rather big early, but he was pushed on going on to the final circuit. He was always in control in the straight, and as he felt the strain of his exertions was allowed to fiddle the last two fences. He’s entered for the RSA Chase but needs to be tested a bit more stiffly to prove his credentials in that company.
CHIEF DAN GEORGE was pushed up to the leader on the home bend, but was left behind after that and came home very tired. He’s a multiple heavy ground winner over hurdles but I wonder if a better ground might help him over fences.
BOLD RANSOM was struggling a mile out and is better than this run suggests.
NINE DE SIVOLA, placed in the Irish and Scottish Nationals in 2007, was very disappointing against opponents he should have kept up with, losing touch from a mile out. He’s entered in the National Hunt Chase, in which an in form Nine De Sivola would have a shout, but would have to show more than this.

2.35 2m Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle

Three competitive in this event and the rest showing varying glimmers of ability or rank inability.

COMHLA RI COIG stepped down in distance having previously won over 2m 4f in a brush hurdle race at Haydock. The change in distance made no apparent difference as he moved through nicely three out and finished strongly to see off his only serious opponent. He goes very well in the testing conditions.
TEENAGE IDOL chased the leader from two out but though staying on couldn’t get to him. He shouldn’t have nay trouble picking up a similar race, particularly steeping up in trip once again.
BRACKENMOSS led at the sixth but was left behind from three out. She had won a moderate mares race here previously and her best chance of another win must lie in that company.
Presumably on the basis he was going to struggle with the first three, FISHING INSTRUCTOR wasn’t hurried along early. He stayed on late without being put under serious pressure until his jockey saw a chance of catching Brackenmoss late on. He was doing sound enough work late on to suggest a small handicap might be a target, maybe with an increase in trip.

3.05 2m Class 3 Novices’ Chase

The McCain stable know how to place their chasers and found a good opportunity for CROMWELL COURT here. Having joined the leader three out he ran on well and saw off the opposition comfortably, winning with ears pricked. His stamina came into play and he won’t object to a step back up in trip. He may pick up another novice event and his prospects in handicaps depend on how the handicapper views this performance.
DANCER’S SERENADE performed a bit better than on chasing debut. He jumped slowly early, but settled down nicely, passing a tired rival to clinch second on the flat. He may need a race or two more over fences before we can see if he is winner material.
QUICUYO led, jumping boldly, but had little in the tank from three out. He may be difficult to place since he seems likely to struggle with a penalty in these events, and seems a little high on a handicap rating of 120.
ROLE ON made a few mistakes and was pulled up after fluffing three out. His fall last time may not have helped and I’d need convincing of his jumping before assessing chances of a win.
PISTOL BASC fell at the third, and would probably have struggled here anyway.

3.35 3m 1f 0-130 Handicap Chase

This looked quite a competitive heat on paper, even with a small field, but in the end the testing conditions took their toll and only three got round.

MORGAN BE had now had five wins at Ayr but is yet to win elsewhere, but his overall record in a relative light career is a creditable 9 places from 19 runs. He made progress down the back for the last time and was challenging when the long time leader came down at the last. The performance confirmed that the gelding is right back to his best after a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a fractured pelvis. Kate Walton’s plan is to aim Morgan Be at the long distance chases in the north. The Eider is seen as a possible target, though the suggestion is that the Scottish National might be on the agenda presuming the ground comes up soft in April.
ROYAL MACKINTOSH continues in decent form. He’s run very few poor races in his chasing career and on this occasion was in contention until the last but out speeded by a decent opponent. His new rating has forced him into this company. He has top weight in 0-115 handicaps, so most of his targets will have to be 0-120 upwards. His best form is at Carlisle, but of course he has to rely on the race planner framing the right race there to benefit. Given the right race I reckon he can win again soon.
MASTER BUILDER was left behind from four out on his handicap debut. This was a tough ask given the exacting conditions here.
SILVER BY NATURE has made the move down the M90 from Lucy Normile’s stable at Glenfarg to Lucinda Russell’s yard at Milnathort. He jumped really well in the main and still held the lead when falling at the last. He was one who impressed me when he first came out in bumpers and, though I’ve found it difficult to tie him down, I’ve always got the impression he’s a potentially decent jumper. This was a very encouraging performance in this company and he looks a ready made winner of a similar contest. One note of caution was that he took sometime to get up after his fall, and I would hope that the mishap hasn’t shaken his confidence.
MINSTER SHADOW was coming back after a year long lay-off and probably felt the effects of the testing conditions, dropping away from the thirteenth before being pulled up. He jumped well enough, goes well round here and has a sound record overall, so I’d expect this relatively lightly raced gelding to be challenging before long.
SILLY WUPPLE won twice in the autumn against lesser opposition but struggled in this company. He’s gone up 20lbs since winning at Hexham in October, 6lbs for that run then 14lbs for winning a 6-runner novice at Wetherby, and that looks enough to stop him in the foreseeable future.
FIRST LOOK was upped in distance from 2m 4f, but was in trouble before that distance had been covered. A combination of distance and testing conditions would seem to have been too much anyway.

4.05 2m 4f 0-105 Handicap Hurdle

Rayson Nixon is having a decent season from a stable of mainly moderate animals. A winner in this event meant his record is now 5 wins from 38 runs, and those wins come from 8 horses which have been sent forth from Ettrickbridge.

KEMPSKI led at a decent pace, as is his preference, but lasted out much better than he has done recently. Those who competed with him for the pace were seen off with half a mile to go and the placed horses didn’t get to him. His wins tend to be mixed up with a few below par runs, but it’s significant that his Ayr record is now 4 wins and 4 places from 14 attempts. This run was off a career high winning mark which means his tasks will be tough now, and he needs a race round here in which he can dictate. He was tried in chases last spring but seemed to hate it.
CASSIUS stayed on out of the pack without getting to the winner. His Hawick based trainer has gone a long while since a winner, but might be on the point of breaking the run with Cassius. The gelding clearly benefited from a stiffer test than of late.
KIRKSIDE PLEASURE was another never seriously threatening the winner, but he plugged on through tired rivals in the straight. He’s showing better form than in the spring and might be able to pick up a handicap over a longer trip, though his strike rate is such that I’d want something approaching a double figure price.
OLEOLAT moved into contention three out but couldn’t find any more from two out. He appears better at shorter trips.
Everything else was well beaten off. FLAMING HECK and KID’Z’PLAY were longshots and paid for taking on the leader, fading to finish in the rear.
SEEKING STRAIGHT was much better dictating here last time, but is yet to win and looks unpredictable. He was crying enough five flights from home.
PAKINEO DES PICTONS was well backed but doesn’t seem to have a distance over hurdles. I presume he will be tried over fences eventually but, for one reason or another, the towel seems to be thrown in very quickly.

Friday, 23 January 2009

The first meeting at Musselburgh in 2009

MUSSELBURGH – Wednesday 21st January

Going – Good to Soft

After losing their first January meeting to frost, Musselburgh was back on a track on a sunny afternoon. The going eased slightly with a fair bit of rain over the preceding days.

1.0 2m Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle

There were a few in contention approaching three out, but this had much to do with a steady early pace.

WOODY WALLER had put up a couple of fair performances in the autumn, and built on those places to take what appeared a moderate event. He came to challenge three out and ran on well to win with a bit in hand. He might be worth a try in handicap company.
STROBE’s future prospects depend on how the handicapper views his second here. The third is rated 102 against Strobe’s 85 so the likelihood is he’ll move up in ratings which isn’t going to help. He was headed two out having taken up the running approaching three out but was always going to find it tough from there.
SIMPLE JIM stayed on for third without getting to grips with the winner. He’ll be suited by further than this.
BEST HORSE, well held behind Red Moloney here last time, could offer no extra over the last flights. He’s now qualified for handicaps and that seems the route to go as he’s held in these events.
PONTOP, a bumper winner in May, made a fair debut over hurdles and can improve.
SEA STORM was quite well backed but never any better than mid division here. He was below previous form and previous evidence suggests good or better ground is required.

1.30 2m 4f Class 4 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

DON’T STOP ME NOW stepping into mares company from juvenile company set the pace and wasn’t in any serious danger up the straight. She likes set the pace, but is no tearaway and seems quite amenable. To me she has a similar profile to La Vecchia Scuola who improved from this sort of company last season to contest races at Cheltenham and Aintree. She is likely to go for the ‘Triumph Hurdle Trial’ at the next meeting here, and her presence would guarantee a true run race in that event.
KINGS MAIDEN kept on from three out, well held by the winner. There’s every chance she can pick up another race either in mares novice company or in a handicap.
ELZAHANN reversed previous form with Just Posh and would seem to be progressing. She had every chance two out but couldn’t get to grips with the winner.
DANZATRICE plugged on into fourth. She isn’t a star but seems honest enough and will be favoured by now qualifying for handicaps.
JUST POSH has improved recently but found the company here a bit too tough and was held from three out. She’s on a mark of 105 in handicaps which seems a bit stiff for one who was beaten in sellers in the autumn.
WHEYAYE won a Sedgefield bumper, but has struggled in two outings over hurdles.

2.00 3m 0-95 Handicap Chase

A group of the usual of old suspects appeared in this one. NELLIEDONETHAT had shown some signs of progression for Lucinda Russell and didn’t fluff his lines when presented with a good opportunity here. He was always going well, led three out and stayed on for a comfortable victory. His rating is higher over hurdles and suggests there may be a little more to come over fences.
BLUE RISING, blinkered for the first time, stepped up on his previous efforts this season. He seemed happier in these less testing conditions than slogging around Carlisle in the mud. One note of caution is that he remains a maiden.
SNOWY was there to four out but couldn’t go with the front two. He only seems to do as much as he cares to these days.
PRINCE OF SLANE plugged on into fourth but was well beaten. He needs more of a stamina test.
DESTINY HILL never got competitive in fifth, but since this was a chasing debut the completion is encouraging. She needs to show more to be considered as a contender in this company.
YANKEE HOLIDAY was up there to four out and then weakened. This is a bit further than ideal for him and he’d probably want good ground, but he’s a bit frustrating these days.
NICOZETTO never showed and was pulled up. I wonder if his fall here last time was preying on his mind?
HERBIE unseated at the twelfth and is a clumsy jumper.
SEEK THE TRUTH was staying on four out but seemed held when falling heavily two out. The ground was right here but the chances are he needs a stiffer track.
PRINCE MOUSE jumped poorly before jettisoning his rider at the fourth.
DORIS’S GIFT had some decent hurdle form last season. He didn’t seem particularly interested and tried to pull himself up going away from the stands for the second time, eventually being pulled up. That’s four consecutive non-completions in his chase efforts and on current evidence he’s one to avoid over fences.
HICKORY LANE was not put into the race and his jockey was hauled in front of the stewards. He was allowed to amble round at the back on chase debut and was pulled up before four out.

2.30 2m Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle

CALCUTTA CUP, a winner at Catterick on his last outing, went on three out, but flattened the last two hurdles and didn’t find as much as seemed likely on the flat. This was similar to his Catterick effort, so sharp tracks and decent ground would seem the best solution to his lack of stamina. He would help himself if his hurdling held up in the latter stages.
I’M DELILAH showed promise last season but remains a novice. She stayed on well and almost caught the winner close home. She should win a minor novice hurdle and would be a good bet for a mares only event.
TWILIGHT DAWN hit the third last when making a forward move, staying on again late on. This was a sound enough debut.
CASUAL AFFAIR led before three out, but soon gave way and couldn’t offer any more from two out. He had no chance behind Red Moloney last time and this is probably as good as he is.
I couldn’t find any encouragement amongst the others. SIR DOUGLAS hared off in front at a lunatic pace, but was ignored by the others and folded tamely over half a mile out.

3.00 3m ½ f 0-110 Handicap Hurdle

PERCUTANT had shown promise behind Divers here in December. Fitted with earplugs on this occasion he progressed from that and saw off an in-form and experienced opponent in Singhalongtasveer. He stayed on from the last and had a little in hand. He’s going the right way and it would be no surprise to see him pick up another staying hurdle.
SINGHALONGTASVEER put up a creditable performance in second seeing off the rest of the field with a bit to spare, though the handicapper may penalise him a few pounds for that. His claiming rider was out ridden on the flat by Graham Lee, but I don’t think that affected the result. He’s better on a sound surface so given good or faster could step up on this, though may have to wait until the spring.
LOCKSTOWN was put in his place from the second last. He’s lightly raced and this was an improvement on previous hurdling efforts.
STRAVAIGIN, returning to hurdles on this occasion, needs good or better ground to show her best. That being said she did make a go of things until held from three out, and normally gives of her best.
REMAINDER was held up in the rear, then brought through to the fringe of the battle early in the straight but couldn’t offer any more. He has proven that he stays this distance and it looks as if a return to two and half miles is required.
The rest were weld hell and it would be difficult to see them threatening on the evidence available here.

3.30 2m 4f 0-110 Novices’ Handicap Chase

A lot of these are well exposed over fences for novices.

ZA BEAU has been an iffy jumper at times but got it spot on here. She looked likely to have to settle for second best but showed more resolution than the second on the flat. When her jumping is right she is a contender at this level.
KILKENNY ALL STAR looked likely to prevail when jumping the last in front but was worried out of it. He may win a race, but is one to oppose against more determined opposition.
TEVIOT LASS was in contention four out but her jumping went to pot in the straight. She jumped left and nearly came down a couple of times yet, to her credit, stormed back at the principals and failed by less than 2 lengths. She lacks nothing in commitment but isn’t currently the safest conveyance. Her jumping needs sorting out, but she may be worth a try on a left-handed track.
I’M YOUR MAN plugged on into fourth but as observed before his current mark looks to have him anchored. He needs the handicapper to relent a bit.
ESSIFER raced prominently but made a couple of blunders down the far side second time and couldn’t get in a blow. He is yet to win under Rules and looks held in this company unless sharpening his fencing.
PILCA never got to the leaders. He has yet to win over fences and is a bit of his best form at present. He has won 6 hurdle races but has had a busy career.
KING IN WAITING jumped poorly on his chasing debut.
PERLY SPENCER is better on a sound surface and might benefit from an ease in class. He led to four out but it was clear it was not the day of Perly Spencer, and his race was almost run.
NORMINSTER weakened from the twelfth. His trainer thought he didn’t act on the track, and I reckon he’s much better dropped back to around the minimum trip on a stiff track.
CLASSIC HARRY, returning from a six month break, jumped moderately and lost touch from the tenth. He’s 14lbs higher than his winning mark and will struggle unless dropped in the handicap.
GUERILLA looks well out of sorts. He’s been beaten a long way in recent outings and something either physical or mental (or both?) would appear to be troubling him.

4.00 2m Intermediate NH Flat

This looked a moderate contest, but the winner’s performance suggested one who could progress.

HUNTERS BELT is bred to be a bit useful on the flat and showed a useful turn of speed to come away from his field in the last furlong. His trainer now has a choice between chasing similar events and giving this one a go on the level. He looked a bit green and there should be more to come.
ALVARADO led three out but couldn’t respond once headed. He’s a half brother to Character Building, so should turn into a jumper and the odds are he’ll improve with a distance of ground and some obstacles in his way.
DOC WELLS had every chance two out, but wasn’t good enough. Nevertheless this was a decent debut by the 6 year old and he’ll improve with time.
RED ONION led to four out and kept on for fourth. At least he kept trying once headed.
MOSCOW MISCHIEF, whose dam was a poor performer, plugged on for fifth and is not a lost cause.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Scottish Double At Sedgefield

SEDGEFIELD – Tuesday January 20th

Going – Soft

A Scottish double in the chases, James Ewart striking for the third time in a week and Hawick based Alistair Whillans producing a chase debutant to win the handicap.

2.20 2m 0-90 Handicap Chase

THATLLDOFORME was held up early, progressing to challenge two out. It looked briefly as if It’s Bertie had the race won, but Thatlldoforme responded gamely when asked the question on the flat. This wasn’t a strong race, but this was a promising chase debut from a gelding that now has a record of 5 places in 10 attempts. He’s suited by soft or heavy and will probably be better over further since he proved competitive at 2m 7f over hurdles. He could just be on a decent mark at the moment.
IT’S BERTIE likes to trail-blaze, but didn’t seem to mind following a fast pace setter here. He led two out and looked the likely winner coming down the hill only to be run out of it close home. His attitude seems good enough and he should win a similar event.
STORM SURGE produced a personal best here. He was thereabouts all the way but held from before the last. He stepped up on his Carlisle effort and seemed more suited by the track here.
NAVAL ATTACHE was remote in fourth, having never been in the hunt.
BARTON SUN was struggling by the ninth and was beaten a long way in fifth.
ROYAL GLEN was never competitive. She showed some promise early this season, but here form has tailed off.
LUCOZADE showed much promise on his seasonal debut, running third over hurdles at Hexham, but his performances since then have been abysmal. He was behind early and lost touch in the last mile.
STONERIGGS SILVER made a howler and shot his rider out of the saddle at the fourth.
COOLDINE LAD was galvanised into action a couple of outings back by Tony McCoy, but has reverted to his previous dismal form. He pulled up here after chasing the leaders to the eighth.
CEDAR RAPIDS hared off in front but paid the penalty and faded quickly from the seventh before being pulled up.
AZTEC PRINCE and BULLIES ACRE made no show and pulled up before three out.

3.20 3m 3f Class 4 Maiden Chase

James Ewart made it three winners in quick succession as OVERLADY made the transition from maiden hunter class, having shown promise in that sphere last season. There wasn’t an awful lot of quality in this field, but it would be hard to crib at the filly’s performance here. She settled well and jumped economically, fiddling one or two when necessary. She joined the leader two out and was nudged clear, staying on nicely. Overlady is not the biggest filly, but she stays and jumps well.
BAY CHERRY was under pressure at the top of the hill but stayed on to get back into contention, though finding the winner too strong. He was a winner of a point in Ireland, stays well and handles the testing conditions.
PRE TOKEN led to two out, jumping well, but was tiring when coming down at the last. He’s got enough ability to wins races, but his jumping is letting him down. He could be interesting if he had the assistance of a senior jockey.
CAVE HILL finished a remote and tired third having lost touch from three out, but at least had a completion on his first chase effort. He was reported as finishing distressed.
GLENGAP pulled hard early, lost his position at the fifteenth and pulled up before three out. He won a point in Ireland, but his Rules form to date is dismal.
PADDYMcGINTYSGOAT was always behind and unseated two out.
STARK RAVEN showed up for a while but weakened from the twelfth and was pulled up.
THE ARTFUL FOX won a couple of moderate points last year, but never looked happy here and was dismounted after being pulled up at the fourteenth. He was miles behind in two previous chases.
MAOLISA was another who made no impact on the race, losing touch from the fourteenth and pulling up by the seventeenth.
The most intriguing thing about ESME RIDES A GAINE has to the derivation of her name……. She won a maiden point, but was soon detached jumping slowly and trailed round before being pulled up.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Borders Raider pillages Catterick!

CATTERICK – Friday 16th January

Going – Good to Soft

James Ewart’s Langholm yard landed two winners in the chases on this card. I’ve got a lot of time for Ewart who really knows how to get his chasers jumping well. It has taken sometime for the stable to record their first winner this season, but I’d expect more now with a few horses running into form. Stable’s runners can often be picked out by a set of white boots on their forelegs and many wear sheepskin nosebands.

Ewart’s operation has gradually increased their volume of runners over the last few seasons and their website at currently lists 26 horses in training. Ewart spent four years learning his trade in France before setting up his operation in the Borders. The stable is progressing and one to keep an eye out for in the future.

1.10 2m 3f Class 4 Beginners’ Chase

James Ewart has used his French connections to secure a few of his stable inmates, and one such is the winner of this contest, SA SUFFIT. The gelding had shown promising form over hurdles in France in 2006, and came back well after a 25 month break from the racecourse. He jumped very well up with the pace and stayed on in the straight to pick off the leader close home. There ought to be more to come from Sa Suffit.
OSOLOMIO led jumping well and had his field on the stretch by the tenth. He kept on well up the straight, and for a while seemed to have his field held, but the winner got past him on the flat. He jumps well and has a good attitude so is likely to pick up a chase before long.
ALL FOR THE CAUSE chased the leader from two out but never quite got in a blow. He was stepping up from two miles here, and it didn’t seem to trouble him. He may just be better in a handicap.
The three were clear of QUILLAN HILL who ran out of steam two out. He unseated early on his previous outing but should improve over fences for this experience.
PAMAK D’AIRY weakened from three out. He’s another who will find his level in handicaps.
DANCER’S SERENADE figured briefly four out, but was well held from that point. He’s rated 120 over hurdles and went well enough here to suggest he will improve over fences given time.
FENCOTE MYSTERY ran about as well as his rating of 90 might have suggested. He was up with the pace early but cried enough from six out.
MOUNT SANDEL was making some progress when coming down at the eighth. He’s rated 125, but the jury’s out since his only finish in three chases was second in a messy four runner affair at Leicester.
MEPHISTO would have eaten these for breakfast at his best over hurdles and on the flat. However, he never looked happy here and was well adrift by four out.
It was my intention to put in a comment for every chaser in every race. However, in this race there were a group of horse which had not an earthly of being competitive and I’d be repeating my comments so I’ll save a few lines.

2.10 3m 1 ½ f 0-120 Handicap Chase

MONTEVIDEO can be a rather awkward customer and this might just be a case of a race which fell into his lap. He was under the cosh from a long way out, and still looked a forlorn hope two out. However he stayed on as those in front stopped and eventually won with a little in hand. It sounds ironic for one who has won 3 out of 9 chases, but he’s not one I would trust to repeat this form on a regular basis.
RARE SOCIETY pushed the pace and had gone twelve lengths clear approaching three out. He was still clear at the last, but ran out of steam and was caught in the last 100 yards. While this was a creditable performance he is in-and-out, and only has two chases wins in 26 efforts.
ORANG OUTAN, representing the stable which recorded the winner of two chases on the card, ran a fair enough race in third without threatening to win.
STONERIGGS MERC made progress at the fifteenth and chased the leaders down the straight, but couldn’t offer enough from two out. He’s often ‘on the premises’ and will probably turn up a win along the way but I’d struggle to tie him down to a particular race.
TOP CLOUD never got into the race and was well beaten.
COLDWELLS is in good form, but fell early on here.
KATE’S GIFT was up with the pace early but was struggling after two miles and pulled up. He seemed to find the step from maiden company to senior handicap company a bit too much to cope with.
GLENARRY was made favourite on chasing debut, but was never going and pulled up before three out.
AMBROSINNI did not seem happy and went two miles before his jockey called it a day.
HAS SCORED showed some fair form last spring, but has shown nothing in two recent efforts.

3.20 2m 0-105 Novices’ Handicap Chase

Despite this being a novices’ event there were plenty of familiar lowly chasing faces in this line up.

James Ewart produced a second winner of the afternoon as SUPER BABY jumped his rivals silly here. Cheek pieces were added to the sheepskin noseband to give him a bit of
Santa Claus look! He led early, stretched on down the back and kept up the gallop in the straight, winning with a stack in hand. The one problem he’ll have is that his next race will probably have to be at a minimum of 0-115 level, and that may make things tough, although he has run respectably in better class races. He goes well here, so his trainer will presumably look to return if there’s a suitable race.
TOULOUSE EXPRESS had a going day, and briefly threatened three out before being left behind from two out. This was a good effort, but he’s only won twice in 49 goes and isn’t one to trust.
CARRIETAU sweated up in preliminaries, but that didn’t seem a problem on the course. As with previous efforts in this sort of event he got to the fringe of the issue and then couldn’t find any more. He was three times a winner over hurdles and is probably capable of picking up a minor handicap chase.
PASS THE CLASS stayed on from the back for fourth, having been knocked back by a blunder four out. His hurdle racing was done over longer trips and he certainly hinted that he would have got closer with farther to go.
FRITH was held up at the back and didn’t get into the race. He plugged on late and is capable of better.
PEAK SEASONS faded in the straight. His two jump wins have been at Fakenham and Cartmel and it could be that quirky venues like those two bring out the best in him. Overall though he’s 2 from 46 over jumps which is nothing to get excited about.
BOB’S DREAM raced prominently to four out but then struggled. His record at Sedgefield is better than elsewhere, an observation which I seem to use often.
ISLAND KEY hasn’t got close in recent jumps efforts and was never competitive.
ITALIANO couldn’t go the pace and his chasing record is uninspiring.
GUNADOIR was fancied here off the back of a second to Norminster at Carlisle. She made mistakes early on, never got into the race and a stiffer test of stamina is needed, either a longer distance or heavy ground.
PISTOL BASC showed a little promise at Ayr, but made no show here.
FALCON’S TRIBUTE lost his chance with a blunder five out.
ISAN jumped stickily in the rear. In a stop start five race career he’s yet to get closer than 25 lengths behind the winner.
MALT DE VERGY threatened to get into the race down the back, but folded tamely.
RED DAWN brought up the rear of an event which saw all fifteen runners complete the course; something I would imagine is rare at this level. He has got into the frame on occasion, but as shown here is basically slow and not threatening to ditch his maiden tag.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Jumping returns at windswept Ayr

AYR – Saturday 10th January

Going – Soft (Heavy)

A swiftly arranged extra meeting at Ayr got the jumping show back on the road. The frozen weather caused the abandonment of Northern meetings since Musselburgh before the turn of the year, but was replaced by a very strong westerly wind and driving rain. The conditions were testing but in the main finishers were getting home fairly well despite a slog into a headwind up the home straight.

The second last fence in the back straight remains omitted as ‘ground under repair’. Presumably if you land there you get a free drop........

12.50 2m 4f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle

A big gulf in class between the best and worst here.

PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE had run promisingly on his British debut at Kelso in November and stepped up on that here. He led after two out and went clear. He will need these testing conditions to produce his best, and a step back up in trip would be no problem.
BRACKEN LAD is steadily improving, and the greater test of stamina here helped. Lucinda Russell should place him to advantage in a novice or maiden event before long.
CAPAL DUBH ALAINN seemed to run in snatches, but was staying on in the latter stages. He was another benefitting from a greater test of stamina.
SIGNALMAN led at a steady pace. He was headed three out and couldn’t produce enough to get back at the leaders. His jumping was a bit scratchy here and his form seemed a little below his previous run.
Nothing else in the race ga ve any encouragement from four out.

1.25 2m 4f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle

A similar contest to the previous heat, in that only four were seriously involved at the sharp end. I have got my eye on one of those behing though.

Bill Amos doesn’t produce many winners, but he has an improving sort in LIE FORRIT. The dual bumper winner challenged from three out, led at the last and kept on well for victory. He should stay further, has the right attitude, and should win another race.
James Ewart’s SIRKEEL made it a Scottish one-two here, battling determinedly up the straight but lacking the pace of the winner from the last. He looks the type to go chasing sooner rather than later, but may well pick up a similar event to this before then.
Irish challenger SERAPHIN ran a creditable race in third, well there until one paced after the last. Might find a win difficult until qualified for handicaps.
WATERCOLOURS made an encouraging debut for Jim Goldie. He kept on with enthusiam late on and should improve for the experience here, apparently stepping up on moderate flat form.
DEE CEE BOLTER lost touch with the leaders on the home bend, but kept on past beaten horses into fifith. He showed some promise as a pointer and as previously noted looks a type to do better over fences. We may need to show a bit of patience, but in time I think Tim Butt should be able to get a win or two out of this one.
PRIMROSE TIME was second in a moderate event here alst time and was found out on this occasion. Her best chance is likely to be in mares’ only events.

2.00 3m 1f Class 3 Novices’ Chase

A couple of non-runners knocked this down to effectively a three horse contest.

COMPANERO didn’t convince with his jumping, and seemed unlikely to catch the leader three out, but got it right at the last when he needed to and superior class won the day. He apparently needs the testing conditions to show his best and the way he stays on indicates that a longer distance will help.
QUW’S LAW was ridden from the front to stretch his rivals. Halfway up the straight he seemed the likely winner, but couldn’t respond when the winner challenged. He’s had a breathing problem in the past, but the tongue tie has done the trick recently, and running into the strong wind didn’t cause any problems.
GREAT APPROACH ran pretty much to his previous form. His jumping didn’t inspire and although his best chance may come in handicap company he will need to sharpen his act.
Winning pointer MITCHEL HENRY found the other three much too good and is better off in handicaps.

2.30 2m 4f 0-140 Handicap Hurdle

Exposed sorts contested the palcings in this race and first and third were occupied by those who have spent recent times chasing.

HARMONY BRIG was returning to hurdling for the first time since April ’06. However, his hurdling record is very impressive, now U24211131, and he has plenty of zest for the game. He held the determined Theatre Belle on the run-in and shows he is good heart whether he sticks with hurdles or returns to fences. Siginificantly he still remains competitive in chases and is gradually falling down the ratings.
THEATRE BELLE is as game as they come. She put it all in to the line but was just held. She deserves to find a race, but her determination could be against her on that front since the handicapper is unlikely to relent. However this did look a competitve race and the form looks solid.
ENDLESS POWER was another returning from chasing, his last run having been an impressive performance in the Grand Sefton Chase at Aintree. He was close up or leading all the way, and didn’t give up without a fight once headed. The Topham Chase would be a target, but from memory that’s a 0-145 so he couldn’t afford to go up far in the chase ratings, so in the meantime it would be no surprise to see him stick to hurdling and there must be a chance of a a win in this sphere.
TARTAN SNOW a regular on the Scottish circuit, was to represent the locals with honour. He couldn’t quite get to grips with the leaders in the straight, but he should find easier opportunities off his current mark.
MONEY ORDER made a respectable return to the track after over a year off and is likely to be more competitve next time. He was held from three out though not beaten far.
MIDDLETON DENE didn’t get to the leaders though running a fair race in sixth. His winning form has been on better ground.

3.00 3m 1f 0-135 Handicap Chase

Given the lack of jump action in the previous few days the field of eight here was disappoinitng for decent prize money.

JASS seems better suited by running in handicaps rather than at level weights in novice contests. He stayed on in the straight to win this nicely. The evidence suggest that this distance suits. He hadnles the testing going, but his record suggests it’s not essential. I believe he can win another staying handicap before long.
GYPSY GEORGE was always near the front and had every chance down the straight but was held. He found the Welsh National hard going last time, but is looks useful in this sort of event and should win more handicaps.
SEE YOU THERE stayed on but couldn’t get to grips with the first two. Five wins at Carlisle and another at Hexham suggest an uphill grind to the finish would be more in his favour.
MALKO DE BEAUMONT was held up and plugged on up the straight, but never got to the leaders. He was moved up 9lbs for his slogging win at Haydock, and it could be that a win off 125 will be a big ask for him.
FRANKIE FIGG set the pace jumping nicely, but he hit the third last and couldn’t muster any more from that point. He does handle this ground, but would probably appreciate better ground.
NEWMAN DES PLAGES lost touch from five out. He is handicapped on his French form and at the moment would seem to need a significant drop in the ratings, since his Auteuil form suggests the going here is not a problem. I woudln’t write him off, but keep a watching brief for now.
SOMETHING SILVER had a stiff task in this company and looked held when unseating four out. An ease in class and drop back in distance oculd help.
CHOPNEYEV unseated early on.

3.30 2m 0-125 Handicap Hurdle

The weather was thoroughly miserable by this stage of the afternoon. The wind and rain continued and it was getting very murky.

PROSECCO is one of a number of progressive hurdlers in the Russell fold this season. Having been upped in distance in the autumn he has since produced better at the minimum trip. Showed determination to hold on close home, won’t go up too much for this and will pay to follow in this class.
NELSON DE RONCERAY, a winner twice over fences last year, gave his running here. He was held on the run-in. He’s unbeaten in two over fences, so Peter Monteith has a choice of running off his chasng mark of 125 or trying to exploit his lower hurdles mark.
BEST PROSPECT challenged two out, but his hurlding wasn’t clean enough in the straight and he gave best on the flat. He’s lightly raced over hurdles and there may be a little more to come.
YOUNG ALBERT returned to something like his best and looks fairly handicapped at the moment. Not a stand out for the future but has chances when giving his running.
OPEN DE L’ISLE was another who gave his running, though without threatening victory. He seems on his mark over hurdles and fences and runs honest enough races. He gives the feeling of one who would appreciate a step up in trip, but his efforts over longer distances have been a shade disappointing.
LOS NADIS was held here and doesn’t jump fluently enough in competive handicaps.
NEVSKY BRIDGE ran a fair race from out of the handicap. Her previous three runs, all at Sedgefield, were quite decent and though I cast doubts on her ability on the shapr end previously, she may be worth noting when returned to that track.

4.00 2m 0-100 Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

The floodlights at nearby Ayr United were shining brightly by this time, and it would have helped these moderate novices if they had been equipped with headlights. Even in the West of Scotland a last race time of 4 o’clock is rather late.

A very ordinary collection of novices here and not a race I would imagine offers many winners for the next few months, though the winner may progress at a relatively lowly level.

PINEWOOD LEGEND’s connections were invited to explain their charge’s improvement, but really it was just because there was a chance in a moderate race in conditions which wouldn’t suit the faint hearted. He howed improvement on his second outing for the stable and offers hope of another victory.
GIANT STAR produced a personal best over jumps. He was held for pace from the last.
ZAFFARELLA was one paced in the latter stages. This was a slight improvement on her previous effort for the stable. A step up in trip may be helpful.
ZA BEAU put in a reasonable performance in fourth but lacks pace over hurdles and her fencing is letting her down in chases.
STEPCHANGE pulled too hard in first time blinkers and fell away once turned for home.
ACTION STRASSE, coming off a break of over a year, showed a glimmer of promise despite sweating up before hand. He hinted at ability in the past.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Musselburgh New Year Sprint Meeting 2008

MUSSELBURGH – Monday 29th December

Going – Good (Good To Firm in places)

Racegoers were met with a glorious sunny day at Musselburgh Links for the now established pre-Hogmanay mix of horse racing and human racing. A good holiday crowd was present and both sports treated them to some cracking contests.

The trend at Musselburgh this season has been for the market to accurately reflect results, and once again the bookmakers were struggling as the longest priced winner was 7/2.

12.10 2m 4f Class 5 Maiden Hurdle

FORTYSECOND STREET made a respectable debut in a Kelso bumper back in October, and took advantage of a fairly uncompetitive contest on hurdling debut. Leading or disputing for most of the way he asserted from two out. He’s unlikely to be one of the stable’s leading lights, but should be capable of picking up another race somewhere along the trail.
LE VERT GALANT stayed on for second having had every chance entering the straight. He would appear to be progressing, and a step up in trip will help.
DANZATRICE stayed on for third without threatening the leader. She stayed well on the flat and is another who should appreciate a longer trip.
BROADWAY STAR gave way disturbingly easily from two out. The trip can’t be blamed since he seemed to stay on his last outing over the course and distance. The suggestion is that he will need a soft event to record a win.
BISHOPS PLOY made some late progress on his hurdles debut. He looks a potential chasing sort to me.
ELLA WOODCOCK is not progressing over hurdles. His third here previously was well held, and the step up in trip didn’t bring about any improvement.

12.45 3m 0-100 Handicap Chase

On their day I gave seven of these a chance, but it can be difficult to tie a few down. However, the second is a good marker and the winner seems to be going the right way.

The previous two runs form SEIZE read respectably and he built on that form nicely here. He picked off the leader approaching two out and stayed on. He seems fairly straightforward and should continue to give his running at this level.
STRAVAIGIN had conditions in her favour here. She led until two out jumping well but was held once passed, though she kept on honestly enough. She is on a mark which reflects her ability and performing consistently.
YANKEE HOLIDAY seems less fizzy recently. He was still attended by two handlers in the paddock, but the cross noseband was dispensed with, and he pulled only moderately hard on the way down. He seemed to see out the trip reasonably well in conditions which favour him. The problem is that he has only won 2 from 39, which hardly makes him investment material. However, he might pick up a minor race dropped back in trip, probably round here, provided the ground stays good.
DIVEX is probably better suited by a shorter trip. He’s jumping well enough now, but was found wanting in the latter stages here.
SNOWY is a moody character, and not one I’d back at short prices. Made favourite here he didn’t really get seriously involved.
AJAY schooled round behind Belon Gale last time, but he’s on a high mark at the moment and struggled here.
GREENOCK, coming off a break, was always in the rear.
ASTYANAX looked well enough coming off a break, but showed nothing significant.
OH YAH DANCER won a poor hurdle contest at Perth in the summer, but finished a remote last on chasing debut.
ANOTHER CLUB ROYAL ran a little better than on his previous outing, being prominent to 4 out but weakening when unseating 3 out.
NICOZETTO fell at the fifth, taking the North money with him, to be followed quickly by Irish challenger BALAKAR who departed at the sixth.
KING’S ENVOY is a poor performer, has not threatened a win in 36 attempts and had no chance when falling 4 out.

1.15 2m Class 3 Introductory Hurdle

There was no significant pace on here until the straight.

RED MOLONEY looks capable of beating much better than he took on here. He needed only the minimum of encouragement to move clear on the run-in. He didn’t hurdle that fluently, but would be helped by a quicker tempo. He will surely be aimed higher now, and I understand he’s being entered for the Champion Hurdle.
CASUAL AFFAIR pulled his way to the front and was clumsy at a few hurdles. However he showed ample resolution once passed and fought back to regain second place on the run-in. A sound debut and he should win a novice event, possibly over a longer distance.
GRAND DIAMOND followed up a debut fourth with a fair enough third place here.
BEST HORSE performed better than on Aintree debut, the better ground may have helped, but he was left behind from 3 out.
PIPER’S SONG moved into contention three out but was then outpaced.
CATAI wasn’t remotely good enough and looked slow once the pace picked up.

1.50 2m Class 4 Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle

The race basically concerned two with the remaining five left to contest third place.

WEST WITH THE WIND was settled in second place behind Don’t Stop Me Now, led four out and just got the best of a protracted battle in the latter stages. He met a decent opponent here and will be suited by a stiffer test.
DON’T STOP ME NOW led her rivals a merry dance here no debut, and once again set a searching pace. Once passed with 6 furlongs to go she dug in well and battled all the way to the line. Her determination alone should gain her another victory.
METAL MADNESS was well beaten at Fakenham previously, but that course can be against many horses, and he deserved credit here for at least bustling up the leading two until held after the second last. He may pick up a small non-handicap race, but this third run now qualifies him for handicaps where he should be capable of making a mark.
The remaining four in the field made no impact. VIVALDI contested the Chester Vase in May, but this effort was nowhere near to reflecting that and he finished well beaten.

2.20 2m 4f 0-135 Handicap Hurdle

FOLK TUNE’s effort at Sandown last time suggested he might make a mark before long. He goes well at this track, is probably best on decent ground and wasn’t inconvenienced by the step up in trip. He went about his job well to lead before the last and stayed on to win with a little in hand. On a stiffer track he’s probably be better at a shorter trip, but coped with the distance well here.
QUICK WILL made a promising return from a break. He challenged down the straight but was held from the last. He clearly stays the trip well enough and off his current mark there should be opportunities on the Northern circuit.
CHARLIE CRAB is suited by a stamina test and needs softer ground at this trip. He couldn’t raise his game sufficiently after the second last. He was aimed at chasing this season, but proved rather clumsy and unseated twice. I suspect he’ll go back to fencing eventually, but should have chances of picking up another hurdle in the meantime.
ALONG THE NILE was stepped up in trip for this seasonal debut. The race may help but he couldn’t find enough from two out and it could be he found the trip beyond him.
GRINGO had shown promise first time out but. Like many from his stable even allowing for their current form, he seemed under-priced in the market. He never threatened the leaders. He was another stepping up in trip and found wanting in the latter stages of the race. A return to two miles would seem the logical course of action.
REGENT’S SECRET couldn’t respond from four out and it seems sensible to conclude he found the trip too far.

2.55 2m 0-115 Handicap Chase

WATCH MY BACK sweated up a bit before the start. That didn’t seem a problem since he performed very well in the race, picking off the leader two out and staying on. He has won over 2m 3f, but the return to 2 miles brought about an improvement on previous efforts this term.
CATEGORICAL has an admirable record of never having been out of the first six in 22 goes over jumps. There have only been two wins in that time, but he lacks nothing in commitment, leading at a decent pace and not succumbing without a scrap. He goes well here, winning a claiming chase last February, seems flexible as to distance and should pick up another chase along the line.
OR DE GRUGY ran a fair race in third place and is gradually running into form. He is steadily falling down the handicap.
PILCA plugged on for fourth but never threatened the leaders.
PARSOU has a poor completion record this side of the channel. He didn’t jump well and was beaten a long way out.
ROYAL GLEN was always behind and found this class too good for him.
MYSTIC GLEN had a real struggle on her hands from 8lbs out of the handicap and couldn’t get competitive. She is another needing a drop in class.
MOOR SPIRIT ran a poor race in complete contrast to a sound effort here last time. He was never competitive and I wonder there was as a problem?
COLLIERS COURT led but jumped markedly left. He was headed at the seventh and weakened. He was coming off a break and he form before that was nothing to write home about.
MASTER PAPA needed the race after a prolonged break and trailed the field. Assuming he comes out of this in good health there should be better to come in time.

3.30 2m 0-115 Handicap Hurdle

A goodly roar from the crowd greeted a finish fought about between the first and second favourites.

KYBER ran a very decent race when second to Viper here over half a mile further, beating off the remainder comfortably. It was noticeable here that he was one of the few not equipped with tack that suggested he was headstrong, and he seems an amenable animal. Despite the drop in trip this looked an ideal opportunity and he won this with a bit in hand. He’d seen off all bar the runner up by the last, and a quick step up in gear saw off Bolodenka. He ought to pick up another race in this sort of form.
BOLODENKA couldn’t hold the winner after the last. However, he’s progressive, was well clear of the remainder and should pick up a handicap before long.
FARNE ISLAND stayed on from the rear for third. This was an improvement on his previous form. He ran in a stiffer race than this on his handicap debut and found this class more his level. He’s gradually getting the hang of things over hurdles.
STROBE ran a sound race from 4lbs out of the handicap. He led from the fifth until two out but then found the leaders going away from him. His current mark gives a fair bit of scope for a drop in class, and with that he should go close.
KING IN WAITING ran a fair race behind Red Moloney here last time, but couldn’t repeat the effort in handicap company. He couldn’t go with the leaders from three out.
MASAFI led early but fell away once turned for home. He had conditions to suit on his return to the track but hasn’t made a mark for a few runs over hurdles.
Top weight ACT SIRIUS has struggled on both runs this season and pulled up. His current efforts bear no relation to last season’s novice form.

The New Year Sprint was won by Leigh Marshall form Hawick in a time of 11.84 seconds. The event is very well handicapped with only a matter of 3 or 4 metres separating the eight finalists at the finish.

The winner was priced up at 4/1 by the bookmakers, but prices on the front three of 1/1, 6/4 and 7/4 show that they don't exactly give away much on this event. In fact one set of prices offered before the cross-ties (semi-finals) on the 20 competitors added up to a book in the region 250%!

The British Professional 110 metres Championship was won convincingly be Aberdour-based Nick Smith, the current Scottish 100 metres champion, in a time of 12.06. There was a prize of £20,000 for anyone beating the Professional record of 11.14 seconds, but that's a forlorn hope on a grass track in December.