AYR – Thursday March 19th
Going – Soft
The going had dried out a bit from the last meeting but it was still pretty tacky and hard work for moderate fields.
2.20 2m 5f 0-105 Handicap Chase
VICARIO made a winning return to chasing, jumping a bit stickily early on but warming to the task. He won well enough but it wasn’t a competitive race.
SOMETHING SILVER set the pace but couldn’t hold the winner in the closing stages. He is a tough sort who has run all his 27 races on good to soft or softer. Chances may be limited for the rest of the season, but he’ll return in the autumn on a handy mark.
WISE CHOICE couldn’t muster enough pace after the last, but given that this was only his third attempt over fences there was a degree of promise.
RECKLESS VENTURE was well beaten which is not promising, but it’s worth bearing in mind that he’s a different performer at Hexham.
WHISPERING MOOR had no chance on these terms and ran that way.
TOY GUN lost touch from the eleventh. He probably needs further, but that wouldn’t have been the complete explanation here.
2.50 2m 4f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
ERNST BLOFELD was best on previous form and stayed on well under pressure to win. I presume he may be aimed a little higher next time.
STEADY TIGER put in a sound performance in second. He played up at the start, but was more co-operative in the race, just being outpointed in the later stages. He will be one to watch when progressing to chasing next season.
ASIS SUPREME was headed three out and quickly outpaced. He did show enough to suggest there is something to work with.
DREVER ROUTE was tongue-tied here but it didn’t seem to help much since he weakened three out.
3.25 2m 4f Class 4 Beginners’ Chase
NETHERLEY and BLEAK HOUSE contested the lead until both came down independently at the eleventh. Sadly the fall cost NETHERLEY his life.
BLEAK HOUSE jumped markedly right all the way and has problems to sort out if he’s to make the best of his ability over fences.
The departure of the leaders left Jimmy Lambe’s runners to fight out the finish.
BAD DAY BAD DAY went lame in the latter stages, so it’s impossible to judge the winner GENERAL STONE HILL though he did at least run on well enough.
3.55 2m Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
Another small field, a theme of recent racing at Ayr.
WOODY WALLER was well favoured here receiving a stone less 5lbs claim from his main rival. He won at Musselburgh earlier and may well step up again though I suspect decent ground will help.
COMHLA RI COIG needs a decent pace or a longer distance. He was anchored by the double penalty but this was a fair enough effort. I’d expect this lightly raced performer to move on to chasing next term.
PRINCE TAM had no chance with the first two but plugged on for third. He is progressing at his own level.
HOWARDS DREAM, from a stable with a consistent losing record, and CRACKERJACK LAD do not look inspiring.
4.30 2m 0-105 Handicap Hurdle
COTE D’ARGENT saw off a bunch of moderate performers in decent style. He does at least seem to be going the right way over hurdles.
BALAKAR regularly finds one or two too good for him these days and isn’t inclined to over exert himself. His amateur jockey was more of a hindrance than a help in the latter stages.
ETHAN’S STAR ran his best race since moving from Ireland. He was prominent all the way but held from three out. He stayed on again and, though not endowed with stacks, might be worth noting in moderate events on better ground in spring and summer. The face that he was twice a winner in Ireland offers some encouragement.
SOLIS led from three out until after the last but was then held. This was as close as he has got over hurdles.
The performances of the remainder didn’t offer too much encouragement though CATAI may have been closer but for hitting the last.
5.00 2m 0-115 Handicap Chase
ET MAINTENANT continued the progression he has made since moving to Scotland. He ran on well from three out to win with a bit in hand. He goes well on good or fast ground so Lucinda Russell will surely be eyeing a target or two at Perth for spring and summer.
CANTGETON performed well enough if held from two out. He seemed to have the run of the race at Kelso last time and might be one to oppose if put in at the head of the market.
HI DANCER, running in his third chase, was one paced in the straight. However, this was a fair effort off a two month break and this versatile performer may progress enough to pick up a minor handicap chase.
OLEOLAT is a big sort whose future has always looked over fences. He jumped adequately but was tapped for speed. He will learn from this.
ZA BEAU needs better ground that this and is better off against lower class opposition. Her current rating does at least give her a run in 0-100 or 0-105 class.
ATHOLLBROSE performed above himself being beaten 24 lengths from 30lbs out of the handicap, but a current rating of 59 pretty well sums up his remote chances of picking up a race.
AZTEC PRINCE struggled from halfway and was dismounted after pulling up before the last.
5.30 2m NH Flat
Possibly not a lot of strength in depth, but the first two look interesting for the future.
WITHERSPOON gained experience with a second in an Irish maiden point. He impressed here, going well three out and requiring only a couple of cracks to see him about his business. He picked up very nicely and looks a prospect for the future.
WILLIE HALL lost nothing in defeat here, and looked a little green in the last two furlongs. He moved up three out and was then nudged along to keep up two out but couldn’t respond to the winner’s pace.
TURTLE SPIRIT ran well enough in third to establish the level of the form.
BIG SHU, a half brother to a fair bumper performer in Big Boots, showed enough to promise better in the future.
The rest, including a couple of decent priced purchases in FAIRLEA BOB and IT’S BROWN, were well held.