Going – Good (Good to Firm in places)
A slight turn in the weather, with some rain about, but no change in the going meaning that this form should be taken forward for spring and summer.
2.30 2m 6 ½ f 0-115 Novices’ Handicap Chase
This race was decimated four out with four horses departing the race. Ambrosinni fell and brought down I’m Your Man, Doc Row falling independently though he wouldn’t have avoided the others anyway and La Pantera Rosa unseating as he tripped over ‘the wreckage’.
NILE MOON had been out in front since the sixth so avoided the carnage. That may conceivably have devalued the form, but I’m not convinced anything would have stopped him here. That being said this was a big step up on anything he had produced under Rules though he did win a maiden point in a decent time at Corbridge in 2007. That race was on good to firm, so it could be that these conditions are the key.
COLDWELLS had been in decent form before a break following a fall at Catterick. She was held after the last but stays further and remains competitive.
GUNS AND BUTTER had every chance towards the last but, as at Musselburgh, finished disappointingly.
PADDYMcGINTYSGOAT is slow and lumbered round a remote last of four finishers.
AMBROSINNI went well enough though received a couple of reminders before falling four out.
I’M YOUR MAN had conditions to suit and was working his way into the race when unable to avoid Ambrosinni.
DOC ROW was prominent early and then hit a flat spot, but he was not out of it when possibly distracted as Ambrosinni came down and he fell independently. He stays well and could not have been counted out of the race.
LA PANTERA ROSA was getting the worst of the argument when hampered and unseating four out.
CLASSIC HARRY fell at the fifth.
PRINCE MOUSE came to NH late from points and isn’t making an impact.
3.00 2m ½ f 0-115 Handicap Hurdle
ANNIBALE CARO was consistent on the flat last summer but hadn’t run over hurdles since December 2007. However Jim Goldie had his charge well readied for this race on his first appearance for the stable. Always going well he challenged at the last and came clear on the flat. He’s suited by the conditions and can go on from here.
FARNE ISLAND stayed on for second without threatening the winner. The uphill finish seems to suit him.
MARCEL has been below form recently but seems on a low mark over hurdles and may be better with the sun on his back these days.
STORM PROSPECT is pretty much handicapped to his level, but stayed on for fourth and does seem favoured by the drier conditions.
3.30 2m 1f 0-125 Handicap Chase
PROFESSOR HIGGINS is a progressive novice and won this with a fair bit in hand. He’s suited by the fast conditions and should pick up another race.
HIGH BIRD HUMPHREY ran an honest race in second and did at least do his best to put it to the winner after the last. He was held but won’t always come up against a progressive type and his jumping was a good deal sharper here.
JUSTWHATEVERULIKE stayed on for third having been in the rear for much of the race. A drop in class would do no harm.
MISS PROSS raced in midfield and was left behind from two out. She raced off 7lbs higher than her previous winning mark which is no help.
SCHINKEN OTTO raced with zest, but jumped right which didn’t help and he was struggling after three out. He’s suited by fast ground but has won over fences for some time.
MANHATTAN BOY struggled from halfway.
LOFTY LEADER had been out of form but was in the process of running his best race for a long time in third place when falling at the last. This was a good effort from 9lbs out of the handicap. He had a succession of good runs at Perth in 2007, but has collected more Ps than Bird’s Eye since then. I would be happier with further evidence of a renaissance.
KING DANIEL looked distinctly uncooperative and was pulled up after four fences, and a jockey’s report that he was ‘never travelling’ was an object lesson in stating the obvious.
4.00 2m 6 ½ f 0-110 Handicap Hurdle
INDUSTRIAL STAR settled nicely in front and nothing got to him in the last mile or so. All his wins have come on good or faster ground, and he was a stayer on the flat so this trip does him no harm.
HEEZ A STEEL was going well three out but didn’t get to the leader. He’s yet to win over hurdles though he didn’t seem to do too much wrong here. His amateur partner looked rather untidy on the run-in.
LAWGIVER threatened to get involved three out but couldn’t raise his game significantly. He was rated 102 here and his wins have come off 90 and 94.
LADY SAMBURY raced prominently but was found wanting from two out. She has won a couple but her best performances have been with cut in the ground.
DORIS’S GIFT was prominently early but was knackered by two out and struggled to lift himself over the last flight. He doesn’t look in the form he was last spring.
ORANG OUTAN was disappointing, but finished lame so had an excuse.
4.30 3m 1f Maiden Hunters’ Chase
Looking at my notebook for this one, I can seldom remember writing quite so many notes for a steeplechase. I’m also indebted to that superb publication Hunter Chasers and Point-To-Pointers 2009 by Mackenzie and Harris, an indispensable aid to those interested in these races, and a superb read even for those who aren’t.
Much of my note taking centred on James Ewart’s steeplechasing debutant DEVIL WATER who has the potential to be a decent chaser. I stress the word ‘potential’ however. He pulled very hard and was distinctly ungainly at the first few fences, his jockey hailing a cab on at least one occasion. Having pulled into the lead he jumped consistently to the right, but had his field on the stretch until walking through the fourth last and giving his rider no chance of staying aboard. He was a comfortable winner of a maiden point first time up and I’m pretty sure he would have won this had he stayed up. He remains interesting, but his wayward tendencies need to be kerbed.
LUKSAR took advantage of Devil Water’s mishap and a good jump two out gave him a nice lead he didn’t relinquish. He was a consistent performer in points and stepped up on that here. He has a good chance of following up.
PADDYS UNYOKE has had a disappointing pointing career, though he did show ability in Ireland in 2006. He ran a fine race here, being held on the run-in.
SENORA MOSS, who won an Open at Balcormo last April, looked to be struggling three out but stayed on again late.
DR HELLIER was in the rear early and came from a long way back to finish fourth. He is a decent pointer and the experience in this class may prove beneficial.
LADY BRIG, a fair performer in points, made no impression from three out.
HIGH EXPECTATIONS is one of the better performers in a stable of under-achievers, but felt the pinch from three out. Anno Domini may be catching up.
SHANTEEN LASS ran well in a poor event at Sedgefield but found this tougher contest beyond her.
OCA DE THAIX was beaten a long way and Ian Stark doesn’t seem to get the same out of his pointers as his does from eventers.
HURRICANE BASIL, who has been plagued by wind problems, looked held when falling at the thirteenth.
HOOKY’S QUEST has proved a weak finisher in points and is hopelessly out of his depth in hunter chases. The same comment goes for BEAUCHAMP VALLEY and both of these outsiders were pulled up.
5.00 2m 2f Novices’ Hurdle
This was a doddle for DOESLESSTHANME who is better than this level. His attitude is second to none, he jumps accurately and a chasing career beckons.
SOUL MAGIC saw off the remainder for second. This was better than his October effort at Aintree but he beat little.
The second favourite CATAI has achieved little in the past and was pulled up here, which sums the event bar the winner.