NEWCASTLE – Saturday 21st February 2009
Going – Heavy
The Eider Chase is one of my favourite races of the season, though it has lost a bit of prestige in recent years. Comply Or Die did the race no harm last year, using it as a stepping stone to Grand National success.
1.50 2m 4f 0-135 Handicap Chase
DALDINI was generally campaigned on better ground than this last year, but seems to thrive in the testing conditions, notching up a fourth jumps win on soft or heavy. After a slow start to the season things have gradually improved and this was a second win on the trot. He led all the way, jumping accurately, and showed plenty of determination in the latter stages.
JACK THE BLASTER is lightly raced but making up for lost time and performed admirably on his seasonal debut and in only his fourth chase. He looked to be going easily two out but didn’t have enough left to see his effort through. He’s won on heavy and on good to firm, so ground conditions all come alike. I’d expect a win from him in the near future.
SILVER BY NATURE coped well with decent class handicappers here and should improve on a decent third here when stepped up in trip.
CROZAN was well held up the straight and is struggling presently.
CRACKADEE lost touch by the seventh but continued to finish a remote fifth. He won in a similar class last season, but is way off his game this term.
CORLANDE is probably too high in the weights and was struggling a long way out.
SILVER SEDGE hit the first and dislodged Paddy Aspell.
EDMO YEWKAY was getting the worst of the argument when coming down very heavily four out. He got up OK, but the fall may leave its mark.
PASAGAI, inexperienced but with some fair form on record, dropped away from five out and was very disappointing.
3.30 4m 1f 0-136 Handicap Chase
This race is programmed as a 0-150, but the top rated was only 136.
MERIGO looked likely to be second when five lengths down at the last, but he had reserves where the leader and none and stayed on to land the spoils. He stays and stays and his target is now the Scottish National, a race his owner would love to win. I would imagine he might turn into a Grand National contender in 2010.
MORGAN BE looked the winner at the last, but the tank registered empty and he couldn’t find anything to fend off the challenger. He is another aimed at Ayr for the Scottish Grand National, and it’s worth noting that his course record there is 211111, so given slightly less testing conditions a reverse of form would not surprise.
RIMSKY was never up with the leaders, plugging on late for a remote third.
STAGECOACH DIAMOND is a maiden over fences and was a never dangerous fourth here.
HARMONY BRIG made some progress over a mile out but the effort was short lived.
JASS was shunted up 13lbs for his Doncaster win, and it may have been a combination of that and the testing conditions which found him out here. He weakened from five out.
Leading Northern Hunter chaser NATIAIN has been forced into these events by a change in conditions of some hunter chases. He’s been found out in the very top hunter company, and found this beyond him. He led in his customary style until six out but then weakened quickly. I understand the conditions of the Kelso hunter chase at the end of March allow him to run, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him aimed there.
MINSTER SHADOW was weakening when running out two out. He was still in contention to four out and this was an improvement on his seasonal debut. Don’t write this one off yet.
CHABRIMAL MINSTER was appearing for the first time since Uttoxeter in June and was never going well enough here. He was outpaced a mile out and pulled up before four out.
FAIR QUESTION was going well when taking a heavy fall at the twelfth. He got up and made a nuisance of himself to some of the field, so presumably was none the worse.
IWILLREMEMBERYOU unseated at the eleventh before the race had begun in earnest.
PASS ME BY led six out but weakened from three out and came down at the last. He has performed creditably over the Cheltenham cross-country course so might be aimed there for the Festival.
TOY GUN had no chance at the weights and pulled up with a circuit to go. I think this sort of event could be his forte, but he needs dropping in class.
4.35 3m Class 2 Novices’ Chase
SKIPPERS BRIG made heavy weather of justifying favouritism here, but he does keep staying on and that was too much for his opponents. He’s run six times on heavy going and won the lot, and you can’t crib at a record like that. Word from Len Lungo is that Cheltenham probably won’t suit him, and the going is unlikely to be soft enough. It might be a question of looking at the race programme when the rain is about.
DREAM GARDEN was headed at the last and kept on. This was a promising effort from a gelding with time on his side.
STAGECOACH OPAL is 18lbs lower rated than the winner, so did well to be in contention to the last. He jumps rather exaggeratedly, giving his fences plenty of height. The hope is that the handicapper won’t punish him for finishing close behind superior opponents.
BELON GALE clipped the top of the eighth fence and came down.