CARTMEL – Wednesday 27th May
Going – Soft (Heavy in places)
A heavy downpour from early morning onwards turned the going from good to testing on the final day of Cartmel’s Spring Meeting. This meant there were a significant number of non-runners and a few that did appear struggled with the conditions.
I’ve not covering hurdles at the course, but the run-in for the hurdle course was even longer than that on the chase course since the ‘removable hurdle’ near the Sticky Toffee Pudding shop was not used due to a patch of heavy ground.
It’s worth a note of appreciation to Iain Mackenzie for his commentaries over the three days at Cartmel. With viewing comparatively difficult an accurate commentary is essential and Mackenzie has developed a style to suit Cartmel’s audience.
3.25 2m 1 ½ f 0-95 Handicap Chase
IT’S BERTIE has often gone close in recent months, and was disqualified when finishing in front on one occasion. Nevertheless he is distinctly difficult to win with as he doesn’t seem inclined to push himself anywhere near the limit toward the finish. Quirky Cartmel, and in particular this moderate company, seemed to be his best chance to deliver and he did, but it was hard work for his rider. He raced prominently all the way, challenged on the bend and took over entering the straight. In typical cussed fashion he then didn’t do a tap in front, but held on nevertheless.
FLAMING HECK has been running consistently recently and put in a sound performance. He led or disputed before being headed three out, fighting back on the run-in but the winner ultimately had more in hand. He is running well, but is at his best when able to dominate the opposition.
PAPERCHASER jumped abysmally in the early stages, so it was to his credit that he led three out and was not far away at the finish. This was only his third race over fences so there is hope, but he does need to improve his jumping.
None of the remainder was seriously competitive much after halfway. ROWDY EXIT, suited by the ground, whacked the seventh and was beaten from that point.
BOG OAK never got into the race after hitting the first. On what he has done previously it’s a mystery that he was joint-favourite here.
SILVO was soon in the rear.
AMOUR DARIA was struggling by halfway.
KING AMONG QUEENS took a very heavy fall at the first, but got up OK if charging around the course in the wrong direction whilst loose.
COMMANCHE TOPGUN, reappearing a day after a poor run at Hexham, led from the second to the seventh before going out like a light. He subsided so quickly that I conclude he either downed tools or had a problem.
4.00 3m 6f Class 3 Grand Veterans’ Handicap Chase
A third consecutive victory in this race for Richard Ford’s CHABRIMAL MINSTER who has earned an honourable retirement. Moving prominent at halfway he kept up the gallop after the last to win with something in hand. He has had his problems in recent times, his joints have been giving him gip, but it should be noted that he retires with a chase record of 8 wins from 26 runs, a record which stands well against any staying chaser.
IL EN REVE hasn’t won for a long time, and he basically just plugs on these days, being only one to seriously chase the winner after the last. The testing conditions suited as they slowed the others down.
CAPYBARA will never fail for lack of stamina and plugged on for third.
GETINBYBUTONLYJUST got tired in the latter stages and the last ended any remote chance he had. He plugged on from there for fourth. His avoidance of getting his head in front these days is well documented.
BALAKAR weakened after taking the water for the final time and probably didn’t see out the trip in the conditions.
HUKA LODGE weakened from four out.
KORELO briefly got into the picture approaching the water last time, but weakened from that point.
STAGECOACH DIAMOND finished a remote last but seemed to hate the conditions.
CHOPNEYEV dropped back form halfway and was pulled up with a lap to go.
DARINA’S BOY found conditions too testing. He raced prominently to halfway but was another to call it a day before the last circuit.
TONI ALCALA is not suited by testing conditions. Unlike his cycling namesake, a noted mountain climber in the recent past, this Toni Alcala seems better on flat tracks but he needs top of the ground.
CONTACT DANCER weakened going out on to the final circuit and his jockey called it a day.
4.35 3m 2f Hunters’ Chase
A race name in honour of Johnnie Fenwicke-Clennell former ‘clerk’ at Cartmel amongst other courses in the North.
HASPER followed up his Hexham win, challenging on the final bend and staying on up the straight. He stays well so the conditions played to his strength.
ZABENZ is officially rated 139, but that’s higher than he’s capable of these days. He came with every chance after last but couldn’t muster the pace to challenge the winner. He’s seldom been raced on soft and it doesn’t suit him.
SHRADEN EDITION raced prominently but gave way after jumping the last. He’s placed 17 times in five years without winning and is one paced.
DR HELLIER rallied going to the water for the last time but lost touch after that. This was well below his good ground efforts.
MY WEE WOMAN, a pointing winner at Aspatria, was always in the rear.
THUNDER HAWK led or disputed to the thirteenth, but he was harried by Shraden Edition and gave way from that point. He’s happier on better ground.
THE SNEAKSTER won this race a year ago, her only win in 44 goes, but she was on the retreat two out this time round.