HEXHAM – Saturday June 6th
Going – Good (changed from Good to firm after second race)
2.40 2m 4 ½ f Class 4 Novices’ Chase
FLEMROSS disputed or led all the way and held off the challenge of the runner-up in the straight. The suggestion at Sedgefield was that a stiffer track would help and the evidence here suggests that was true. Two further meetings here in June would be the immediate options, past which the UK options dry up for the summer.
EVELITH ECHO put down a challenge going to the last but was held. It’s possible that a less stiff track might suit better.
EBAC put aside a dire collection of form figures to run a respectable race in third, keeping on up the hill if held for pace on the flat. On previous evidence I wouldn’t risk the mortgage money on a repeat.
STORYMAKER threatened briefly to two out but was found out for pace from there. His wins have come on soft or heavy and the stiffness of this finish wasn’t enough to compensate for lack of cut.
KEENE SPIRIT made progress from the rear to three out, having gone well enough on chasing debut, but retreated from that point.
DOUBLE GEM was found out by the move up from hunter company and got outpaced down the hill away from four out.
DORIS’S GIFT, returning for another go at chasing, was once again found wanting. Chasing record now reads 4PUFP7.
WILLIE PEP was prominent past halfway but dropped away to finish last. He had a couple of long breaks and has not reproduced his earlier form which saw a Grade 2 hurdle second at Ascot.
3.10 3m 1f 0-115 Handicap Chase
ALL RISE was dropped in on his Perth effort and led all the way here, just holding a late burst from another veteran in Catch The Perk. His new rating in 88 which seems to signify that the handicapper has all but ignored his Perth effort. That could be no bad thing for the future and there may be another race in him in present good heart.
CATCH THE PERK had not shown up well in two runs after a break. He was labouring four out and a place seemed unlikely. He then stayed on up the hill and came steaming up the run-in on the near side, failing by a few inches. This proves he retains his form, he shouldn’t go up much for this and his stable must surely be looking for a suitable opportunity up the M90 at Perth.
RECKLESS VENTURE has got himself into a challenging position in his last two races but just lacks that extra push to get his head in front. He needs a bit of work to keep interested during his races.
BALAKAR stayed on for fourth, not beaten too far, but it added to a losing run stretching back to the flat at Ayr in September ’07.
OSO MAGIC had every chance but didn’t appear to see out the trip with this stiff finish.
CARIBBEAN COVE raced close up to three out and the hill finally did for him. He hadn’t run for nearly three years, so had an excuse, but his win over three miles was in a slowly run four runner race. Dropped back in trip he would certainly be interesting based on this effort.
BENNY THE PILER briefly threatened three out but then back-pedalled. He needs a significant drop in the handicap and doesn’t seem totally enamoured with chasing.
KALMO BAY is right out of sorts just now and took no significant part in proceedings.
GARDEN FEATURE raced prominently early but dropped away with a circuit to go. She has had a sparkling pointing career, but this company seems too tough.
4.15 2m 4 ½ f Hunters’ Chase
The last hunter chase of the season, so the form will only remain immediately relevant should any continue in ‘senior class’.
This trip is a bit sharp for TAKE THE STAND, but his class won the day here. He was outpaced a bit going to the last, but his old ears were still pricked and impression was he had a bit left to give. He gave it the works on the flat and ended up winning a trifle cosily. Handicapping might prove a little tough if he’s kept going this summer and it would be nice if this win was left as a fitting tribute to a fine career.
CHARMING KNIGHT didn’t do too much wrong being run out of it after the last.
NOCATEE did his regular ‘staying on from the rear’ act, just in time to avoid any danger of winning!
ARCHIE BABE took a keen hold early on and, given that fact, wasn’t disgraced in fourth running in his 99th contest. He struggles to see out any sort of trip in these events.
LOWLANDER lost touch from three out and appears to be on the downgrade.
FIFTH COLUMN struggled from the tenth and hasn’t shown form of any real note for a couple of years.
WAS I RIGHT briefly threatened to get involved down the far side but was retreating by three out. He probably retains a little ability, but his rider’s style doesn’t help too much. It would be interesting to see how he went in the hands of a professional jockey.
DEL TROTTER was always struggling and will presumably be in the queue for his pension on Thursday.
DIX HUIT CYBORG was held in fifth when unseating three out.
CADOULITIQUE parted company with his partner at the second.
LEADING PEARL was prominent early but well behind when pulled up before four out and hasn’t shown a glimmer of pointing form in two efforts under Rules.
OVER TO YOU JOE ran well at Sedgefield last time, but struggled from a way out here and pulled up.
ELLANDSHE and JUPITER JOE pootled round in the rear before being pulled up with one left.
Around about 3.45 all eyes were on one race, which was of course the Handicap Hurdle won by LONGDALE!