PERTH – Thursday 23rd April
Going – Good (Good To Firm)
The promised rain didn’t materialise and the weather remained bright for the second day of the Festival. There was no change in the going.
2.10 2m ½ f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
Nigel Twiston-Davies often makes an impact at Perth, and his FRONTIER DANCER id the job soundly to see off two serious rivals in this event. HE had been held in much better company at Aintree, but on this occasion raced prominently before taking over approaching the last. He ran on to win comfortably.
ERADICATE was tried in a tongue-tie for the first time, but it didn’t make a significant difference and he was outpaced going to the last, though keeping on for second. That’s three defeats in a row as short priced favourite.
MHILU had a stiff task under a double penalty and was held from two out. His future is in handicaps.
DREVER ROUTE has filled out noticeably in the time since I first saw him. He lacks pace over hurdles but looks a chaser in the making and should be of interest as a novice over fences next season.
The remainder show little promise currently.
2.40 2m 0-135 Handicap Chase
The leaders went too fast in this and it was left to those coming from behind to pick up the first two places.
CANTGETON had a race fall into his lap at Kelso earlier, and it happened again here. He only really came on the scene two out and went clear after taking over at the last. A fourteen length victory means he will be punished by the handicapper and things will be very tough in future.
ORMELLO ran a similar race to his Ayr effort, being outpaced going to four out before staying on again for second. His UK wins both came in races with a decent pace on and his best chance will be when front runners take each other on.
COACH LANE, winner of the event last season, tracked the leaders and took over four out. He held the lead until headed before the last and then weakened.
KILKENNY ALL STAR plugged on for fourth but never got into the race.
SHARP REPLY was not particularly co-operative going down, and made no impact in the race. The impression is that he needs further round here.
NELSON DU RONCERAY was unsettled in the paddock and the energy wasted wouldn’t have helped as he weakened in the straight.
GENTLE JOHN set a fast pace but once headed four out dropped back steadily. He took a tired fall at the last and, given time to recover, took sometime to get up. He seemed OK eventually but might appreciate a rest now.
BERMUDA POINTE is an impressive animal, built like the proverbial brick-outhouse. However he took too many liberties with the fences here and was pulled up after belting four out.
TOM’S TOYBOX and COOL OPERATOR couldn’t go the pace and were pulled up approaching three out.
3.10 3m ½ f Class 2 Novices’ Hurdle
The runners went a steady pace, the speed picking up gradually on the final circuit.
ZEMSKY had been headed going to the last, but didn’t look out of it when left clear at the last. This was only his third attempt under Rules and he shows much promise. He already has a solid hunter chase performance behind Robber’s Glen under his belt and is one to watch when going chasing.
STAR LORD kicked on from two out, but got the last hopelessly wrong, paddled it and took a tumbling fall. The fall didn’t look quite as spectacular close up as it did on the video, but the gelding couldn’t get up at first. Photographer John Grossick was quickly across to hold the horse’s head and the screens went up. My initial thoughts were that given time he would rise, but it seemed an age before Star Lord eventually got to his feet. He was clearly very shaken, rather ‘starry’ as he stood by the final hurdle, and trainer Tom George declined the offer of a ride back in the horse ambulance as he was worried Star Lord might ‘get down and not get back up again’. He was led into the centre of the course and led quietly around the polo ground the next quarter of an hour. He has plenty of ability and I hope a summer’s rest will enable him to cast aside the memories of this race.
BIG BURROWS, a big chasing type, was held from two out. Like most of these a fencing career beckons.
CLASSIC CUT found the company a little taxing here and was held after an awkward jump three out. He looks a fizzy sort and had two handlers for a while in the paddock, being mounted on the course. His jumping was sticky at the slowly early pace but did improve until the error three out. Provided James Ewart can point his energies in the right direction his future should be over fences.
STEADY TIGER, another viewed as a chasing prospect, was well held from three out tried at this trip for the first time.
MIGHTY MAGNUS was making up the numbers and lost touch from three out. In the short term his chances might be best in minor staying handicap hurdles.
3.40 3m Class 2 Chase
There was quite a reasonable field for a race which was a handicap last year, though weakened by the absence of potentially useful Money Trix.
POSSOL is a six year old moving in the right direction, and impressed on this occasion. He was momentarily tapped for pace going to five out, but he was brought steadily back to the leaders to put his head in front on the home bend and stayed on well up the straight. He looks a type for the decent handicap chase next season, though I suspect he wouldn’t want to be ploughing through the mud in the winter.
OLLIE MAGERN bowled along in front and put in an excellent round of jumping. However, he couldn’t hold the leader once headed and it seems he isn’t as good as he used to be.
FAASEL never got seriously involved but stayed on for third. His quirks have been well documented and his stable’s best bet could be searching out place money in races like this.
APPLEADAY ran a cracker of a race considering his rating compared to the first two. He was beaten quite a way, but probably paid the penalty for matching the leader to four out. He will have prospects in handicaps below the top grade next season.
ERIC’S CHARM won this race last year when it was a handicap, but ran no sort of race this time.
LOVE THAT BENNY was feeling the pinch at halfway and was pulled up when well behind three out.
O’MALEY met a sad end, dropping his hind legs in the water and sustaining a leg injury which resulted in him being put down. There are too many injuries caused by similar incidents and I do think it’s time to jettison an obstacle that to my mind adds very little to the spectacle.
4.10 2m 4 ½ f Hunters’ Chase
This event was previously a 3m 7f slog, but was dropped back in distance significantly. The leaders went off at a rattling pace and many in the field, including a number of those well fancied, didn’t get into the race.
SIMONSBERG, a progressive six-year-old who looked well set up for the race, worked his way into the race down the far side for the final time, led two out and galloped clear. This was impressive and he may make a mark at high level if kept to hunter chases.
ROWDY YEATS performed very respectably given that he went with a fast pace from the off. He couldn’t respond once passed two out, but kept on well enough for second.
BRISCOE PLACE carried his decent pointing form through to this event, but paid the penalty for going so quickly early on and faded from four out, tired but just holding on for third.
THUNDER HAWK didn’t get seriously into contention but plugged on to challenge the third close home.
ALLUMEE was held up but couldn’t get into the race on his stable debut. He doesn’t look a potential winner.
SEAFIELD BOGIE led or disputed to four out then gave way.
Two in-form contenders THE REVEREND and BELEM RANGER couldn’t go the pace and were always detached. THE REVEREND was dismounted just after crossing the line.
MODEL SON looks slow and couldn’t keep up.
TIME TO REFLECT went off fast but ran out of puff, and SMART CAVALIER, normally a front runner, couldn’t get his head in front. Both were pulled up.
DEVIL WATER was restrained this time and showed nothing of the promise he had before his departure at Kelso.
4.40 2m 4 ½ f 0-140 Handicap Hurdle
A lop-sided market for what should have been a competitive handicap.
The market got it right as previous course winner SOUTH O’ THE BORDER saw off his principal market rival WIKAALA on the flat. Of the two the lightly-race WIKAALA has the best prospects off a decent mark, particularly if dropped back to a shorter trip.
ECHO POINT charged out of the paddock and was taken straight to the start. He ran pretty much to his level, staying on for third.
LOS NADIS never looked like winning but stayed on well enough to suggest this trip is no problem.
ENGLISH CITY was held from three out, but will benefit from the outing and should be more competitive next time.
QULINTON charged off in front but went too quick for his own good and was well spent three out.