KELSO – Wednesday May 20th
Going – Good
The last meeting of the spring campaign at Kelso. There was a time when that would have been ‘last meeting of the season’, but times change. They shared the day with a Sedgefield card and the three ‘Sedgy’ chases are covered below.
2.25 2m 2f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
A distinctly moderate contest to start the card, though won nicely by ANY GIVEN DAY who took over after the last. He wandered about on the flat; seeming happier once he had the rail to run against. This one isn’t in the normal McCain mould, having been a fair handicapper on the flat, but he showed enough to suggest he can progress from here.
MINI BECK made the pace as is his way and kept on well enough once headed. He clearly has ability and may find a small race but he’s a 10 year old and time is not on his side. A novices’ handicap would probably look to be his best chance.
BALLYMACDUFF weakened from the last but may a respectable hurdling debut.
SEVEN IS LUCKY has settled at his level in handicaps, currently rated 100, and was held here. He doesn’t strike me as a sort to take a novice event as less experienced horses improve past him.
CATCH BOB was the previous winner here but was crying ‘enough’ going to the last. This was below previous form for no obvious reason.
3.00 3m 1f Class Novices’ Chase
This was basically a two-horse race with the favourite COQ HARDI looking to be going well enough when falling at the fifteenth. This left THE SHY MAN to come home well clear of two vastly inferior opponents and taught us little, though he is more suited by this sort of trip.
COQ HARDI has plenty of ability though seems plenty high enough in handicaps off 128.
STAINLEY out-plodded GLACIAL RAMBLER for second, but both have been way off the mark this season and achieved little other than the chance to pick up some housekeeping money.
3.35 2m 2f 0-100 C.J. Handicap Hurdle
Rather a rogues’ gallery event, with a number trying hard to shirk the issue in the latter stages.
As she has proved in the past, NEVSKY BRIDGE is notoriously difficult in a finish, but credit to James Halliday for getting her head in front right on the line so that she won without knowing it. She once again held her head left up the run-in and had to be kidded to the line. On balance it’s been a good effort to a couple of wins, plus a disqualified and placed second, plus another couple of seconds out of her over the winter and spring. She presumably has a tough constitution s she runs regularly and is likely to be kept on the go now.
ETHAN’S STAR probably has a little more ability than he cares to show. He looked the winner fifty yards out only to be ‘mugged’ on the line. He has improved for professional riders in his last three races.
EMOTIVE had every chance from the last but couldn’t, or wouldn’t, raise his game enough to get in front.
JANAL disputed or led most of the way but couldn’t offer any extra from the last. He won a poor event at Catterick, but in truth is very moderate.
SOLIS was once again let down by his hurdling in the closing stages. He’s another who has ability if he cares to show it but is desperately frustrating.
4.10 2m 1f 0-115 Handicap Chase (third last fence omitted)
This event was marred by the death of MOOR SPIRIT. He appeared to clear the first fence, but landed in a way that suggested to me he may have had a seizure after taking off and died before landing. This was a sad way for a good stable servant to take his leave.
I doubt this race will help us much in the future since it was won by the 13-year-old HOLLOWS MILL. He had shown glimmers of form during the winter campaign and went close a couple of times at Carlisle. He does seem helped by an uphill finish.
EBORARRY wins occasionally, normally if the race falls for him, but could only offer one pace after the last.
MISS PROSS seemed to have an opportunity here but weakened from the last.
SMART CAVALIER picked up ground late in the contest but never threatened. This was a slightly better effort and he would be interesting if he can be settled in front under a professional pilot, since he showed a bit running from the front for Jamie Alexander previously.
STAR SHOT raced prominently until whacking three out which did for him. His jumping is doing him no favours currently.
MY CONDOR, placed in a selling hurdle last time, was well below par here, fading from three out. His jockey was cautioned for overuse of the whip.
4.45 2m 6 ½ f 0-125 Handicap Hurdle
A competitive staying hurdle won in decent style by CORKAGE. Definitely best on top of the ground, Lucinda Russell’s gelding was caught flat-footed down the back but picked up again turning for home and won with a little more in hand than the ¾ length margin suggests. With conditions likely to favour him he will presumably be kept on the go in the coming months and this run suggests there is more to come.
MARKINGTON stayed on for a close second. This was a fair effort against an improving winner, but he’s up to 118 after a clear win at Newton Abbot and will have something to prove off that mark.
IT’S A ROOFER is handicapped pretty much to his mark now, keeping on for third. Another summer sort with top of the ground form.
RUN FOREST RUN led four out and had every chance at the last, but ran out of steam and a drop back in trip seems advisable.
This seemed one race too many for POLITICAL PADDY and a summer break beckons. INDUSTRIAL STAR was prominent until going lame after the seventh.
5.20 3m 1f Hunters’ Chase
This was an open event won in pleasing style by the novice ALMOST BLUE. Held up early he was brought steadily into the contest by Jamie Alexander, disputing from two out and then asserting on the flat. The rider got a bit unbalanced on the flat but his mount had enough in hand. This run boosts the form of the novice event at Perth and confirms the winner there COASTLEY as something for the future.
FLOREANA stayed on under pressure from two out, and a last rating of 100 sets the standard. Her rider collected a 6-day ban for her flailing.
SENORA MOSS set the pace, surviving a bad blunder at the fifteenth, before giving way three out. She stayed on again, but her rider’s flapping style did her no favours on the run-in. She would be suited by a step up in distance, having won a four-miler point, though she’s only ever run at Kelso and opportunities would be limited.
DR HELLIER had every chance but was one paced from the last. He’s consistent if just lacking a last ‘oomph’ at this level.
RATHOWEN led three out but weakened from the last. This was a shade disappointing and he doesn’t seem to be capable of running to the 115 mark he held before this contest.
BELEM RANGER raced prominently to two out. He looks to need tucking away until the latter stages and maybe raced a little too prominently on this occasion.
LORD WHO was never in the hunt and doesn’t seem as good as he once was.
MISTER MGANUM was outpaced from a mile out.
TEERIE EXPRESS never got into the race and found the opposition too sharp.
TIME TO REFLECT gave way after racing prominently to four out. He’s finding nothing once push comes to shove.
BEN NELLY was behind when falling two out. He has a little ability, but his jumping lets him down too often.
BRIGHT AND BUBBLY was totally outclassed and pulled up.
Going – Good (Good To Soft in places)
6.30 2m 4f Hunters’ Chase
VAN NESS has been consistent in points and hunter chases. After his main rival departed, he went clear four out here, but gave the impression he wasn’t doing an awful lot from three out. Tim Edwards got agitated on the run-in and his flapping style was not necessarily helping, but Van Ness still had plenty in hand.
The winner’s main rival ELIA DOALOTT went well enough before hitting the ninth and depositing her pilot.
OVER TO JOE progressed from three out and closed on the idling winner after the last. A fair effort, but no more than that.
BRISCOE PLACE led early and kept on in the closing stages. He improved on his Perth effort and might be worth a try at a longer trip.
ELUSIVE WARRIOR, consistent in points and a maiden winner, stayed on from the rear for fourth but then she weakened over a longer trip last time. It could be that this is the limit of her ability.
CARAMAN was outpaced from three out.
PARADISE BAY, FIFTH COLUMN and GOOD INVESTMENT lost touch in the last mile, while PRIMUS INTER PARES was detached from early on.
BENWELL was close up to the eleventh and then weakened.
CRASHTOWN LEADER, ridden in hunting style by Simon Robinson, was soon detached following a bad first fence mistake, and pulled up four out alongside ALPINE WARRIOR who lost touch from halfway.
7.30 2m 4f Class 4 Beginners’ Chase
SHERIFF HUTTON showed a good deal of promise on his hunting debut, leading two out and staying on for victory. He should win a novice event under a penalty, but is reported as being given a rest until the autumn.
LITTLE LU, also making a chasing debut, was outpaced at the top of the hill but stayed on for second. She rated 130 over hurdles and was 6 from 13 in that sphere. A chase win seems a formality.
FLEMROSS had a Down Royal fourth to his name over fences. He led from the fourth to two out and was then one paced. A stiffer track would help.
SNAKE CHARMER, a hurdles winner in the winter, was held from two out and to date doesn’t look as good over the larger obstacles.
HEAVENLY CHORUS advanced a shade on her previous course effort.
BEWERY MAN looks a chasing type. He never really got grips here but will improve with time.
CARAMIA showed some promise in early chasing efforts, but this was a step backward.
MADGE was hopelessly outclassed, with only the pulled up FORTUNE’S FOOL showing up as slower.
8.00 2m 4f 0-100 Handicap Chase
WOODY VALENTINE’s rejuvenation continued and whatever the key is his new stable have found it in three runs. He went clear from two out and once again had plenty in hand. This win will take him out of this class, but given that he’s rated higher over hurdles he may be capable of steeping up yet again.
DEUTERONOMY was held after being overtaken three out but stayed on well enough. He should be placed to advantage soon, possibly over a longer trip.
EASBY MANDARIN stayed on ‘under encouragement’ from three out. He was wearing blinkers for the first time but they didn’t make an obvious difference. He’s a maiden after 23 goes.
SILVER STEEL, awarded a race at Fontwell in March when last seen, never got to grip with the principals and finished a one paced fourth.
LAWAAHEB won here after a break in April but couldn’t repeat the form. The general pattern of his form suggests he needs regular breaks.
MASTER PAPA was not dangerous in sixth.
FLYING FORME, pointing in Ireland since leaving Philip Hobbs, lost his prominent pitch around the twelfth and weakened.
DIVEX dropped back swiftly after a mistake at the eleventh. This was not his form.
SCHINKEN OTTO was never going in the rear and pulled up. He hasn’t won over fences since late 2007.
SANDS RISING seems to have lost interest again after a brief promising spell.
NOBEL raced prominently early but couldn’t keep up once the race began in earnest. He was off the track for a year and a half to last December, and has been well below previous form since then.