Thursday, 5 March 2009

Newcastle and Catterick - early March

A sequence of Northern meetings which sees racing on each day through to next Sunday continued at......

NEWCASTLE – Tuesday March 3rd

Going – Good to Soft

3.20 3m 0-120 Novices’ Handicap Chase

FIFTYFIVEDEGREES was moved up in class here and dealt with the better company in fine fashion. His Hexham maiden hunter form has been well backed up by Overlady of late, and he’s progressing nicely. He looks like another decent stayer for Raymond Anderson Green.
BORIS THE BLADE looked held three out but kept staying on, if never quite looking like getting to grips with the winner. He’s basically handicapped to his ability now.
MARLEYBOW is headstrong and paid for his ‘negative exertions’ in the latter part of the race.
TOP CLOUD’s form is going downhill fast and he was a remote fourth here.
ROSIE ALL OVER came under pressure five out and quickly dropped away. It could be that she had a problem, but I wonder if this was just one race too many since she has been kept on the go in testing conditions.

4.50 2m 4f 0-130 Handicap Chase

FLAKE rather got the run of the race here, leading from a long way out and then showing determination to hold his challenger. This probably wasn’t the strongest 0-130 (highest rated was 125) and I think he would struggle in a more competitive event.
DE BOITRON had every chance was out-battled close home. He coped with the rise in ratings well but have to be aimed at a nominally lower class to succeed again.
NIRVANA SWING was left behind in the straight.
OR DE GRUGY was disappointing, being another left behind in the straight, particularly given that his soft ground form should have made him competitive in this. However, it is worth noting that four wins out of his 5 have come in the spring.
CANADA STREET needs farther.
THE GLEANER went well enough before thumping the eleventh which knocked the stuffing out of him before he was pulled up. More evidence is needed as to whether he is favourably treated with a clear round.

CATTERICK – Wednesday March 4th

Going – Good To Firm (Good in places)

3.20 2m Class 4 Novices’ Chase

The second last fence was omitted as a jockey was being treated by ambulance staff.

HIGH BIRD HUMPHREY finally managed to find and opportunity to get his head in front. He’s ideally suited by a greater stamina test, and just kept galloping to the end. He’ll need more of a test to win again.
PROFESSOR HIGGINS had the rest of the field well beaten off and second to an established performer is a creditable effort. He should win a similar event.
KILKENNY ALL STAR was well seen off down the straight.
NAVAL ATTACHE had no chance at the weights, but on strict interpretation ran to his form in fourth.
LINLITHGOW LAD was never a factor.
BILSGREY bumbled round in the rear overtaking the proven tortoise TULLY HILL late on. ABLE DARA was pulled up and shows no prospect of achieving anything over jumps.
BALLABROOK led until hitting the third and jettisoning his rider. From a stable who know what to do with their chasers he should improve with time.

4.20 3m 1 ½ f 0-100 Novices’ Handicap Chase

This was a very ordinary handicap in which most were out with the washing by the third last.

GARLETON showed some promise last year and was yet another Smith charge well prepared after a break. He had been close behind some fair performers and stayed on to see off his only serious challenger. Make a note of Sue Smith’s runners coming off a break as they are normally ready to run to their best.
GENERAL HARDI stays well and bustled up the winner close home. He has recorded 6 seconds, but has yet to win in 23 goes.
THE ARTFUL FOX was four pounds wrong at the weights, but made most to four out and stayed on at one pace to hold third comfortably. He’s slow but at least going the right way.
KINFAYRE BOY was left behind in the straight. He has just one selling hurdle win to his credit in five years racing.
BLEU POIS threatened to get involved briefly four out but soon went backwards. He may learn from a first attempt over fences.
CLEAR THE WAY made no serious show.
GLACIAL RAMBLER hasn’t shown much over fences in the UK.
AJAY recorded a well beaten second two runs ago, but was schooled round that time and seemingly doesn’t handle the hustle-bustle of these contests.
I’M YOUR MAN never got close and unseated two out.
PENDLE FOREST, back over fences though I do wonder why, lost touch after two miles and pulled up before three out. My thoughts on this one over fences have been well documented.
PADDYMcGINTYSGOAT shook off his rider at the second.
JETHRO TULL threatened a win earlier in the season, but managed to avoid getting his head in front and pulled up two out here.

4.50 3m 1 ½ f Class 6 Novices’ Hunter Chases

Enough moderate horses got into contention here to suggest this wasn’t much of a race.

I SEE A STAR jumped very poorly but, given a breather after his howler at the last down the back, battled back in the straight and got in front on the line. A typically expensive Wylie purchase, he really needs to get his jumping act together to produce form that his £48,000 price tag warrants. Almost certain to be underpriced in future.
SHANTEEN LASS has three point wins to her credit but had been running moderately recently. She led three out and was still two lengths up at the last only to be pipped close home. She’s well exposed and what you see is what you get.
GUNNER ROYAL is rated 82 which sets the level, and even then he jumping appallingly though he must have a solid constitution to stand up to hitting a couple of the fences in the straight halfway up. He recorded a well beaten second to Sonevafushi at Overton, and might just manage to pick up a similar event if putting in a clear-er round!
NECTAR DE GUYE plugged on for fourth but has yet to win a race in 32 attempts under rules and in points.
OCA DE THAIX, a maiden point winner who has been frustrating since, was held from two out.
FARMER FRANK a three time point winner, lead at the twelfth and pushed on after the sixteenth. However, he soon weakened and his rider looked untidy from then on.
SIMPLY SMASHING won a maiden point in Ireland but has done nothing else and lost touch quite early on.
EL FARGO, a very moderate maiden pointer, made brief progress at the fourteenth but was soon on the retreat and pulled up.
CUPID’S MISSION is rated 63 and wasn’t anywhere near that before pulling up!
PERSIAN PRINCE, owned and trained by the race sponsor John Wade, clearly didn’t read the script. He found the pace too taxing by the fourteenth and soon pulled up.
HEAVENLY LEADER was behind after a mile and pulled up not long after halfway.
ALISON’S TREASURE was behind early on, got in touch briefly with a circuit to go, but soon threw the towel in.

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