AYR – Saturday February 7th
Going – Soft (Heavy in places)
Ayr avoided the worst of the freezing weather over the preceding week and, following a double inspection, survived the overnight frost. The going remained heavy, and it has been testing at the course for the whole of the jumps season to date.
The second last fence in the back straight remained out of action.
1.0 3m ½ f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
This looked a golden opportunity for GRIZEBECK, dropped in class from Grade 2 events, and he obliged with the minimum of fuss. His strength is that he is such a good stayer, and the heavy ground emphasises his stamina advantage.
MERIGO ran a respectable race in second. His hurdles mark is a good deal lower than his chase mark and, provided he doesn’t get put up too much for this run, it would seem sensible to try a long distance hurdle.
MANADAM should have got closer here and seems to be going backwards.
The remainder were well held.
1.30 2m 4f Class 3 Novices’ Chase
SILVER BY NATURE ran a good race until falling here over a longer trip last time. The mishap has clearly had no ill effects, and he jumped well here to take this event with a couple of novice winners in the race. He should have no trouble winning again and a step back up in trip wouldn’t be a problem.
BORIS THE BLADE made a very satisfactory chasing debut, keeping on for second place. He stays further than this, and should win over fences before long.
CROMWELL COURT ran well below previous form. He won here over two miles last time, but has proved he stays further. He’s better than this.
ASTON LAD performed much better here than on his previous efforts over fences. He seems to have got his jumping act together.
SA SUFFIT crashed out at the third, but seemed none the worse for his mishap.
2.00 3m 1f 0-145 Handicap Chase
A disappointing turn out for the prize money here, though travelling difficulties caused by snow in various places may have put trainers off.
SILVER SEDGE was encouraged into contention four out, led three out and ran on for victory. He may be capable of following up.
MONEY TRIX has been very lightly raced for a nine year old, with a couple of significant absences from the track but has only missed out on a first two finish once in 8 attempts. His jumping was not good, and he took a fall at Newbury on his previous outing, yet he was still in contention in the latter stages and bustled up the winner all the way. He’s a very useful handicapper, and this run suggests his not inconvenienced by his current mark. Assuming he jumps better in future I’d expect him to win a decent handicap.
WILD CANE RIDGE goes well here having recorded four course wins. He led, jumping well, but was feeling the pinch once turned for home. However he was still in with every chance until a blunder at the last put paid to his chances. His current mark looks about fair.
SEE YOU THERE didn’t jump at all well. He’s much more comfortable at Carlisle.
HIGH BIRD HUMPHREY was flying too high here, struggled from the twelfth and was pulled up. He’s run some fair runs in defeat in novice events, but that’s put him on a handicap mark that he can’t currently justify.
2.35 2m 4f 0-110 Handicap Chase
SAMMY SPIDERMAN remains in excellent form. He contested the lead down the straight, gained the upper hand on the run-in and found more when challenged once again. I got the impression there was still a little more left, and it wouldn’t surprise me if his winning run continued, since although he’ll go up he will still be eligible for this class.
RUN TO SPACE battled hard in the latter stages, but just found the winner too strong for him. He handled the testing conditions well enough. A good effort though he may go up a few pounds.
SOMETHING SILVER tired from three out having set the pace. A mark of 104 looks to high since his best winning mark is 94. (I note he subsequently dropped to 98, though another drop is probably needed)
CLOUD TEN, three times a winner in France, has made no impact in two UK outings. He was struggling a mile out and ended up a remote fourth.
INNOMINATE unseated early on, and his jumping is not good enough at the moment.
3.10 2m 5 ½ f 0-115 Handicap Hurdle
This was a competitive event for its level.
The star of the Willie Amos stable LIE FORRIT has been doing them proud and produced another solid performance to win this. He made steady progress in the straight, challenged at the last then ran on well. This was a handicap debut and there may still be a little more to come.
THATLLDOFORME won a chase at Sedgefield last time out. He kicked on in the straight, and then hit the second last before being caught at the last. He didn’t give up without a fight but will rise a bit in the weights since he was clear of the third. He lost nothing in defeat however, and is capable of being thereabouts off a higher mark.
CAPAL DUBH ALAINN made a promising handicap debut, staying on down the straight without getting to grips with leaders. Staying is clearly his game, a step up in trip will see him in even better light and I’d be surprised if a small handicap doesn’t fall his way soon.
AIRHILL LADY plugged on late, as did NEWMAN DES PLAGES but never remotely threatened the leaders.
KIRKSIDE PLEASURE was on the premises for much of the way but couldn’t get competitive at the business end and hasn’t won for three years.
LONGDALE moved to chase the leaders before the home turn, but that was as close as he got.
TWELVE PACES, who has two ways of running, never looked remotely interested.
Course specialist KEMPSKI was taken on for the lead on this occasion and gave way from the seventh, pulling up before three out. He needs things his own way up front.
3.45 2m 0-135 Handicap Chase
The top rated here was on 127 and this wasn’t a particularly strong event.
POLAR GUNNER is really thriving and relishes soft ground over the minimum trip. At the age of twelve he was winning off a mark 5lbs higher than his previous best. He made all and was too strong for his opponents in the latter stages. He will likely rise to a mark over 125 which might make his options a bit limited, but he should be a factor in similar class and conditions.#
FIRST LOOK hit a couple of fences in the straight, including the last, but had enough left to stay on for second. He performed poorly on his last outing here over 3m 1f, but dropped in trip performed much better. His best form is round here, though he has a first and a second at Kelso, and his record suggests a trip up to 2m 4f and cut in the ground are required.
QUICUYO didn’t get to bowl along in front this time, though he did stay in contention until the last. This probably wasn’t a bad effort on handicap debut and he looks capable of winning such an event.
ARIGNA ran a little better than previous efforts this side of the Irish Sea, but isn’t getting competitive.
ECHO POINT was making progress under pressure when coming down four out. He was returning to chasing after an up and down spell over hurdles. I think he will be hard pressed to make an impact off a mark of 127.
SOTOVIK was making his chasing debut after a lay-off of over two years, so the fact that he was in contention when unseating two out was creditable. He handles the testing ground very well and stays 3 miles plus, so on this evidence of a run here at the minimum trip his trainer has plenty of options. He looks a ready made chase winner.
4.20 2m 0-115 Handicap Hurdle
In contrast to the previous handicap hurdle on the card this wasn’t a strong event.
NELSON DU RONCERAY had the race run to suit him here, coming form off a strong pace to lead three out from which point he stayed on to stave off the runner-up’s attentions. He will rise in the ratings for this and bearing in mind things fell right here he may find things tough in the near future.
OPEN DE L’ISLE ran his best race of the season here, keeping on after the winner up the straight. On balance though his current handicap mark is about right.
ARDESIA had shown little form recently, but stepped up here, staying on for third. A drop in class would make him an interesting proposition based on this form.
ETHAN’S STAR has dropped in the weights but made no serious impact.
STAINLEY is out of form and if anything the application of a visor made him run too freely to help. He was pulled up.