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 www.jamesewartracing.co.uk 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.