CARTMEL – Saturday May 23rd
Going – Good (Good to Soft in places, Soft by the woodside)
The usual large crowd attended for the first day of Cartmel’s Bank holiday racing festival.
6.20 2m 5 ½ f 0-100 Handicap Chase
The start was a shambles with a handful left flat-footed and having to make up 10 lengths plus. On balance it probably didn’t make a huge amount of difference up front, but in my opinion the runners should have been recalled.
BABE HEFFRON is suited by the opportunity to dominate the opposition was never seriously challenged here on a track that suits his tactics to a tee. Taking a strong hold early on he was soon in a clear lead and kept up the gallop all the way to win with a bit in hand. He needs a course to suit his front-running tactics so isn’t one to back blindly and he’ll be bumped up a fair bit for this win.
PEAK SEASONS performed creditably in second. He went after the leader from the ninth, but it was clear soon after the last that it was beyond him to catch Babe Heffron. He probably doesn’t see out this trip and a drop back in distance will help. Peak Seasons is a tough performer who was appearing on a racecourse for the 79th time, an impressive tally for a six-year-old.
SOUTH BRONX has ability and has won in a better class than this, but he doesn’t always show it. He was outpaced from the twelfth, but plugged on late for third. He won off 8lbs more than this at Perth last summer and, if he could be persuaded to give of his best, would stroll a race at this level.
SYCHO FRED jumped poorly in the latter stages which ended any glimmer of hope he may have had. He failed to finish on his two previous outings and doesn’t look a safe conveyance at this time.
ILOVETURTLE was out the back most of the way, plodding past a few for fifth. There probably isn’t a lowly enough race for him in present form.
NOBLE BILY never looked happy and didn’t show. His rider reported that he hung right throughout the race.
CLASSIC HARRY was outpaced as was UPTOWN LAD, and CROFTON ARCH joined them at halfway after some sticky jumps.
STORMONT DAWN unseated at the sixth when in midfield.
JBALLINGALL raced prominently early, as is his way, but a mistake at the ninth saw him weaken swiftly and he was pulled up, as was LAGO who had lost touch by halfway. The latter’s very heavy fall at Carlisle doesn’t seem to have done him much good.
6.50 3m 2f 0-95 Handicap Chase
This may prove to be a significant contest at its level since the second carried forth a decent Perth run and thee winner has been showing up well in points. There were many proven slowcoaches in the field toiling from a long way out.
Once again the start was a shambles, though on this occasion the runners were recalled. The second attempt wasn’t an awful lot better but the runners were allowed to go on their way.
ITS TEESCOMPONENTS, 2122 in points recently but going over regulation fences for the first time, went prominent at halfway, led at the fifteenth and kept up the gallop from there to see off a determined second. This was a step up on her hurdling form, and she should be capable of another win.
GERSHWINNER impressed me at Perth and ran well enough here to suggest that he is progressing. He was lugging 12-2 in this race, which is a heavy weight by current standards but was still able to chase the winner at close quarters in the straight. I’m impressed with Donald McCain’s charge and there must surely be another race for him.
ORCHARD HOUSE plugged on for third, but never got to the leaders.
ADAMS WINE, carrying forward fair pointing form, wasn’t totally disgraced but was feeling the pinch approaching the water for the last time.
TULLY HILL ran prominently and is certainly showing more zest than on his early outings after crossing the Irish Sea, though weakening in the last mile. However,
as soon as anything like a racehorse appears against him he is pretty well stuffed.
ARC OF STONE was awkward for the false start, and didn’t look much keener the second time round. He basically trundled around in the rear and didn’t seem over-keen.
LADY ROANIA made a little progress after halfway, but was soon back pedalling and completed the course the length of the straight and more behind the first two.
THE ARTFUL FOX fell early on.
MITCHEL HENRY presumably came out of his previous race with no lasting effects, but he was once again well off his game and pulled up. It could be that his trainer knows better than I do, but I reckon he needs a nice rest now as it would be a shame to see an honest enough performer soured.
BIG BONE is proving ‘big slow’ and pulled up before the twelfth.
MURPHYS BEAU went off in front, but felt the effect of his exertions past halfway and pulled up before the last lap.
BACK TO BILLS, racing tubed, was another to race prominently before weakening after halfway. He probably should have been pulled up and communicated this by refusing three out.
NELLIEDONETHAT has had a decent run of results over the winter and spring but was never going here. This may have been one race too many for now and a rest is possible.
NEIDPATH CASTLE won a dire race at Hexham, a fact clearly acknowledged by the handicapper who only moved him up 6lbs for 18 lengths. Coming up against a few with more will and more ability was more than enough to see him off here. He made mistakes in the rear early and was pulled up after two circuits. He has yet to prove he stays extended trips.
OFF THE SHELF ran midfield until hitting the tenth which did for him as he was pulled up before the last lap.
7.25 2m 1½ f Class 4 Novices’ Chase
The third last fence was omitted here as the vet dealt with a stricken horse.
SILMI is rated 124 over hurdles and, on the evidence of this chasing debut, looks capable of matching that mark over fences. He jumped like natural, led at the ninth, had gone clear at the last and went away after being shaken up. He was chucked into some very tough contests over hurdles and it is his trainer might plot a less tough campaign over fences.
HONOUR’S DREAM didn’t jump particularly well but kept going in the latter stages to bag second. He probably found this a bit on the sharp side, and the rattling pace that often sustains around Cartmel didn’t really help him.
DANNY ZUKO raced in the rear for much of the way, picking off tiring rivals from four out. He may well progress for this first experience over fences, and is with the right handler to do so.
JORDAN’S LIGHT went with the pace from halfway but paid for that from two out and finished very tired. He won a lousy selling hurdle at Kelso, but basically struggles to see out even the sharpest two miles at a decent pace.
HISTOIRE DE MOUERS jumped slowly early on and never got competitive. He’s better than this and I wouldn’t have thought the track was to blame.
MUJAMEAD led until the eighth and then weakened quickly.
FINNEGANS RAINBOW was struggling and detached by halfway and it’s a long time since he got within hailing distance of the winner.
WRITERS BLOCK went with the leaders early on, but was feeling the pinch when making a ‘horlicks’ of the water (9th) and unseating.
PARADI became another sad entry on the memorial role, perishing when taking a very heavy fall at the fourth.